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Powder Blue (DVD Review)

11 May, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prebook 5/12/09; Street 6/9/09
$27.98 DVD, $35.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
Stars Jessica Biel, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Eddie Redmayne, Kris Kristofferson, Lisa Kudrow, Patrick Swayze.

If actress Jessica Biel thought Powder Blue would be the breakout role to catapult the former “7th Heaven” protégé beyond her striking looks, perhaps playing an angst-ridden stripper/single mom with aplomb wasn’t the best career choice.

With the buzz surrounding the film involving scenes of a topless Biel manipulating a stripper pole with the acrobatic skill and sexy finesse of a hot porn star, who cares about nuanced emotion, right?

The film follows four Angelenos on Christmas Eve whose unremarkable lives underscore an imperfect reality to the postcard allure that is the City of Angels. What’s left, then, too often is disappointment and abject loneliness.

A suicidal ex-priest (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, who also co-produced the film) can’t find anyone willing to pull the trigger despite offering $50,000 in cash stuffed in a bag. A clumsy mortician (Eddie Redmayne) looks for redemption surrounded by corpses.

And then there is overwhelmed Rose Johnny (Biel), living in a motel, with a comatose son in the hospital, contending with a sleazy strip club owner (pre-cancer Patrick Swayze) and strange encounters with a benevolent ex-con (Ray Liotta).

Notable performances include newcomer Alejandro Romero as a transsexual prostitute, and Lisa Kudrow, whose limited role as a diner waitress nonetheless suggests that not all L.A. stories have an unhappy ending.

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