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Sugar Town Reviews

This L.A.-based gloss on NASHVILLE by way of ALL ABOUT EVE features a diverse cast that sometimes feels like one long in-joke. Almost all of the 16 major characters are connected to the music business; Gwen (Jade Gordon), who passes through most of their lives, has oodles of ruthless ambition untempered by any discernable talent. Jonesy (Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet), Nick (Power Station's Michael Des Barres) and Clive (John Taylor of Duran Duran), all survivors of successful '80s bands, are trying with little success to get their new group off the ground. Clive's wife Eva (Roseanna Arquette), a B-movie sexpot who put her career on hold to tour with him, is finding that all she's being offered are roles like Christina Ricci's mom, and is less than thrilled when a disturbed 12-year-old (Vincent Berry) is dropped off on their doorstep by a women who claims he's Clive's son. Meanwhile, well-regarded back up musician Carl (John Doe), who's got kids, a pregnant wife (Lucinda Jenney) and a newly-clean junkie brother (Chris Mulkey) to support, is about to go on tour with crossover Mexican singer Rocio (Lumi Cavazos), who's got the unbridled hots for him. Co-writers and directors Allison Anders and Kurt Voss have both tackled the music scene before; they collaborated on 1987's little-seen BORDER RADIO, about the L.A. punk underground, and Anders wrote and directed the sprawling GRACE OF MY HEART, which follows a songwriter through the turbulent '50s and '60s. Their focus here is the corrosive effect of fame on those who have it, those who want it and those who've lost it; occasionally their script is right on the money. But the performances are uneven and the loosely structured story never actually goes anywhere; ultimately the whole is less than the sum of its parts.