Completed in 1994 but largely unseen until a home-video bow three years later, SOMEBODY TO LOVE is a curious romantic drama, awash in L.A. ambiance and consciously-concocted fringe characters.
Mercedes (Rosie Perez) is a Brooklyn girl fruitlessly pursuing a Hollywood screen career. By night she works as a taxi dancer, where she catches the eye of Ernesto (Michael DeLorenzo), a young laborer living in barrio squalor. He gently woos her, but Mercedes is already mistress to Harry (Harvey
Keitel), a married, ex-movie actor who suffers the ultimate career humiliation--being fired from a part in an ape suit. Harry declares that for $10,000, he and Mercedes could return to the New York acting scene. When Ernesto hears this, he approaches crime boss Emilio (Anthony Quinn) to carry out
a mob hit for the sum, proving his devotion to Mercedes by giving her the means to leave him behind. No sooner does Ernesto pass the money to his lady than he's gunned down in retaliation by Emilio's rivals.
SOMEBODY TO LOVE is dedicated to the memory of Federico Fellini and his actress-wife Giulietta Masina. Yet it resembles their NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1957) less than it does the American musical revamp SWEET CHARITY (1969), a perfect example of the progressive dilution of a classic model brought about
by over-schooled younger filmmakers. DeLorenzo is especially endearing as the hopelessly smitten suitor, and Perez brings quirky appeal to an underwritten and sometimes unsympathetic lead. But Keitel as a flamboyant has-been, Quinn as a don, Steve Buscemi as a transvestite, and Samuel Fuller as an
old-time mogul who promises to make Mercedes a star, then drops dead--all these seem trendy intrusions borne of the sort of postmodern indie-cinema sensibility that had its finest expression in Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION (1994), but can otherwise wear out its welcome with arcane homages and
pop-culture myopia. Sure enough, Tarantino cameos as a bartender spouting showbiz trivia (director Alexandre Rockwell subsequently teamed with him for the 1995 omnibus FOUR ROOMS). Like its self-centered heroine, SOMEBODY TO LOVE hunts high and low for an offbeat formula for success and doesn't
stay content with what it has. The Latino-flavored soundtrack showcases the music of Tito Larriva and the band Tarantula, with the title tune and other canciones including "Samba Mojo," "La Vida Deliciosa," "Primera de la Noche" and "Para Arriba Para Abajo." (Violence, sexual situations, adultsituations, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: R
- Review: Completed in 1994 but largely unseen until a home-video bow three years later, SOMEBODY TO LOVE is a curious romantic drama, awash in L.A. ambiance and consciously-concocted fringe characters. Mercedes (Rosie Perez) is a Brooklyn girl fruitlessly pursuing… (more)