"U Turn" is probably one of Oliver Stone's more overlooked pictures, despite its all-star cast. Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Claire Danes, Joaquin Phoenix, Jon Voight and a very, very ugly Billy Bob Thornton all have parts in this bizarre and ultimately violent crime thriller that edges on being a straight-out comedy.
Penn stars as Bobby Cooper, a drifter who is on his way to California (if I remember correctly) to deliver a bunch of cash he owes a really nasty guy (the guy already took one of Penn's fingers). When his car breaks down in a small town, he finds himself victim of a scam by the local mechanic (played deliciously by Billy Bob), the subject of attention of a jealous boyfriend (Phoenix) and is also caught in the middle of a murder scheme between an abusive and seedy millionaire (played by a buck-toothed Nolte) and his younger trophy wife (Jennifer Lopez, who looks hotter here than she has ever been). Oh, and by the end of the movie a lot of people will be dead.
"U Turn" is quite a bit different than other Stone movies I've seen in that it has a much goofier, down-to-earth plot and some of the strangest characters ever committed to the big screen. Compared to some of his epics like "JFK" and "Platoon," this one is much simpler, even if Stone's visual style remains in place. While the movie is quasi-violent, it is definitely much more viewable than his God-awful "Natural Born Killers."
All the actors involved deliver good performances, though it is quite obvious Jennifer Lopez was brought on more for her visual appeal than acting talent. She has the simplest of roles, but she looks sizzling hot. On the other end of the spectrum, both Nolte and Billy Bob look hideous, yet they turn in the most memorable of performances.
In the end, "U Turn" isn't a masterpiece, but it's a fun, violent little film that should not be overlooked by those who enjoy crime stories where bad things keep adding up.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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