Squeeze

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

Robert Patton-Spruill's directing debut gets off to a promising start, with a deliciously uncomfortable scene involving three multiracial teens trying to hustle small change by pumping gas for customers at a self-service station in a rundown Boston suburb. But it quickly slides into TV movie of the week territory, the victim of its hackneyed premise and...read more

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Robert Patton-Spruill's directing debut gets off to a promising start, with a deliciously uncomfortable scene involving three multiracial teens trying to hustle small change by pumping gas for customers at a self-service station in a rundown Boston suburb. But it

quickly slides into TV movie of the week territory, the victim of its hackneyed premise and didactic, predictable screenplay about poor, vulnerable youngsters caught between extremes: a community-based volunteer program that looks a lot like workfare and the street life that revolves around

dealing drugs. The film's look is pure NYPD Blue -- all jiggly SteadiCam -- and when the actors find cracks in the formula and let some small, authentically awkward moments shine through, the director has the sense to back off and let them work. But the real disappointment lies in seeing

real-life material that originated in a community-outreach drama project forced into formulaic cliches that then try to get by on the actors' street credentials. Patton-Spruill doesn't seem to understand that melodrama and realism are two very distinct styles that don't mix, and when he tries to

combine them, the results aren't pretty. The film's greatest strength is its performances: Tyrone Burton, who plays one of the conflicted kids, is particularly worthy of notice, as is Geoffrey Rhue in the role of a former gang member devoting his life to getting youngsters off the streets.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Robert Patton-Spruill's directing debut gets off to a promising start, with a deliciously uncomfortable scene involving three multiracial teens trying to hustle small change by pumping gas for customers at a self-service station in a rundown Boston suburb.… (more)

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