Scotland, PA review by The Grim Ringler
I feel very bad because, well, I just saw this movie and yet I am already forgetting things about it. Good grief! If you want a one-word review though, thats it forgettable. Not bad, just forgettable.
Scotland, PA is a modern, well, seventies-era, re-telling of Shakespeares Macbeth, and as such, its pretty clever. What they have done is taken a well-worn story and have set it in America in the seventies, and so while you may know what is bound to happen, there are some interesting twists to it all. Essentially Joe and his wife Pat work at a hamburger restaurant in the mid-seventies and spend their lives, wanting, lusting, and basically rocking out to Bad Co. But while Joe is mildly content to be a cog in the wheel of life, his wife Pat has other, greater ideas for them both, and to do this, they need an opportunity. The opportunity presents itself in the form of three gypsies (witches, whatever) that Joe sees and who tell him the secret to making it big in the fast food world drive thru windows! So now they have their idea, and all then need is an opportunity, which arises when their boss shows the two of them his grand ideafor a drive thru, which will make his fast food restaurant bigger than anyones. Pat and Joe see their chance and take it, plotting to kill old man Duncan to get his money, hopefully buy his business with said money, and go into the fast food business for themselves. And everything goes off almost as planned, until that is the suspect the police pick up for Duncans murder is let free and the police a nice turn by Christopher Walken are on the hunt for the real killer. And suddenly the downward spiraling Pat and Joe need to make sure anyone and everyone who might know what happened to Duncan is taken care of so they can keep their dream. Things unfortunately dont work out so easily for them though, and things begin to quickly spiral out of control in perfect Shakespearian form.
This isnt a great movie. Its made as a black comedy, and it definitely has its moments. James LeGros, Maura Tierney and the rest of the cast are all pretty good in their parts but through the entire thing you never care really about any of them. Or the movie. Its mildly entertaining, and it passes the time, but it doesnt really do anything. It all feels like left-over jokes and set-ups youve seen a dozen times. I completely applaud the filmmakers for putting a new spin on a story thats been done and done to death over the years but it never lives up to the promise it shows, and thats because they are tied to the source material. At its heart it seems to want to be a Coen Brothers movie but it never quite makes it. It has all the kooky characters, and the wacky town, and even the crime hyjinx, but it all seems staged. Faked. They are aping the Coens instead of doing what the Coens do, and that is making the normal abnormal. Making us see how silly and sad every day life can be, yet how funny it is at the same time.
I dont hate this movie at all, it is what it is and if nothing else is worth a rental to see how they envisioned MacBeth, but in the end, its just another movie youll forget in a weeks time, and thats a shame cause it had the potential to be much, much better than that.
6 out of 10 Jackasses