Movie Review: 79 parts (2020)

Jack Anderson finds himself in a mess when he has to pay a debt to the mob, and the solution is marrying the girlfriend of the crime boss.

Directed by: Ari Taub.

Starring: Eric Roberts, Kathrine Narducci, Sandra Bernhard, Sala Baker, Ernest Thomas, Angelica Page, Chris Kerson, Tony Lo Bianco, John Bianco, Victor Pagan, RJ Konner, Naomi McDougall Jones, Michael Wren Gucciardo, Lou Martini Jr., Rich Graff, Brett G. Smith, Michael Emery, Stella Velon, Josh Trovato, Kris Eivers, Krista Donargo, Natalie Wetta, Kresh Novakovic, Mario Macaluso, Karin Agstam, Daniela Mastropietro, Kimberley Shoniker, Jonah Young, Ryan O’Callaghan, Lisa Regina, Lars Engstrom, Johnny Solo, Juliana Aiden, Gail R. Lawrence, Martin Ewens, Andrew Heller, Claudio Laniado, Emanuela Galliussi, Cristian Balint.

Country: United States

Genre: Action, comedy.

Running time: 96 minutes.

In today’s cinema it seems pretty hard to find intelligent scripts.

I’m not exclusively referring to complex plots that seem tailor-made to confuse viewers at some point of its development. I’m simply minding a few movies that go beyond its primary concept, a sort of growth within its genre boundaries that can end up becoming a movie that feels complete.

79 parts is a silly movie. It doesn’t intend to be anything other than that, and we’re fine with that. At least it’s not your typical arrogant crime drama with a revelatory third act that takes way too long to arrive. Yes, it’s reckless in its execution, but the shift of pace that makes everything stumble in the ending comes from a correctly handled script and a director that knows the story (and its inspirations) well enough to know what can be done, and what can be discarded in the editing room.

New York City, 1979. A very diverse stage in which organized crime and optimism seem to be very common. Our perfect loser is Jack Anderson, a young law student with absolutely no money who’s trying to graduate in order to help his incarcerated father. Jack’s best friend offers solutions that don’t seem very safe but among those he finds a loan from Dennis, a crime boss, seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, things don’t go well for Jack, but the mobster lets him know he can do something and be absolved: he needs to marry Ana, an illegal immigrant who is also Dennis’ girlfriend.

If movies didn’t exist or testimony accounts were not as active for book adaptations, each of us would probably be a perfect Jack, completely oblivious to what can and can’t be done in a crime environment. He’s the reflection of us, the viewers, and not many comedies do this with a fair amount of authenticity.

Even if we try to surpass its “style statement” trait, we find ourselves dealing with a far from serious movie. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it feels like unnecessary stuffing. It’s excessive at some point regarding the portrayal of that NYC 70’s era. Some shots can be edited out and the movie would not suffer from that removal. Making an indie film, set in the 70’s, with a production value that can be limited, is very hard. Clichés can appear to be a garment of the movie but during its first act, the idiosyncrasies, traditions and even behaviors, work for building something. This is something very well directed and precisely placed in a sequence for the proper presentation of the mafia boss, undoubtedly the best character of the movie.

79 parts is a movie that makes you forget there are no superstars in its cast. They are not essential for a script that works well, at a pace that keeps the plot very active, and does not overwhelm the viewer. As I said before 79 parts is silly, but who said “silly” cannot also be “intelligent”?

Star rating: **1/2

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