[box cover]

Trixie

Alan Rudolph's Trixie received mostly harsh reviews upon release in July of 2000, when it went on to make a mere $285,000 in North America, but don't be fooled. Though the film isn't perfect, it does have some things to recommend it, if only as a rental. One of those elements is Emily Watson as the title character, the malaproping Trixie Zurbo. It's an endearing performance. The surprisingly tall Watson plays a naif, a woman who by style, language, and dress is not of this world — which people seem to notice and not notice at the same time. But she's also a female Ace Ventura, adept at solving crimes, and she's hired as a security guard for the night shift at a casino, located in a mountain resort in the Pacific Northwest. She befriends the house lounge act, Kirk Stans (Nathan Lane), develops an odd crush on the local Lothario, Dex Lang (Dermot Mulroney), and stumbles upon a group of men who are influence-peddling real estate frauds. Dex works for con-man Red Rafferty (Will Patton), and when Dex sneaks Trixie onto Red's boat for a secret liaison, Red arrives with crooked Senator Drummond Avery (Nick Nolte), and the senator's girlfriend, Dawn Sloane (Lesley Ann Warren). Later, a death occurs, Dex goes on the run, and it falls upon Trixie — with the help of her casino friends, including Ruby Pearli (Brittany Murphy) — to solve the crime. Trixie is all quirky fun if you are in the mood for it, and it's only the latest in Alan Rudolph's series of Northwest-set romantic comedies. On the whole, these movies tend to be uneven, but if Rudolph has a major directorial flaw, it's his dedication to Robert Altman, a mentorship one wishes he would shake. Altman has produced five of Rudolph's films, and they tend to be his worst, while his best are made outside that sphere. But it's a funny relationship to begin with because Rudolph loves love, and he loves people. Altman, the American Mike Leigh, hates everyone and everything. Rudolph's affection for the odd and unpredictable characters in Trixie comes through admirably. He doesn't seem to hate anyone, either the corrupt reckless politician, or even the eventual culprit, and buried deep within his maze of eccentric characters there is actually a very clever murder mystery. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of Trixie features an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) with a full-frame version on the flip-side. Audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround, with subtitles in English, French, and Spanish, as well as close captioning. The major supplement is an audio commentary by Rudolph, who comes across as still in thrall to his cast and story. He speaks in an almost hushed whisper, as if trying not to disturb the film, and he offers insight into making movies on a low budget and a short schedule (30 days), while reveling in some of the lines and the way the actors deliver them. If you don't like the film, you're not going to be particularly impressed with Rudolph's chat, but it is informative nonetheless. Bonus trailers and talent files round out the supplements. Keep-case.
—D.K. Holm



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