Having read some fairly good reviews of this Ted Demme-directed movie, I was pretty fired up to see it. After all, it looked like (from the previews at least) that it had equal parts “Boogie Nights” and “Traffic” going for it. Plus, the extra bonus of one of Hollywood’s riskiest actors, Johnny Depp, and Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) in a dramatic role. Both actors were good. In fact, the acting was the only thing I didn’t really mind about “Blow.”
From a historical perspective, the story was mildly entertaining. Seeing how cocaine exploded onto the American scene in the late seventies was pretty cool. Depp’s character (based on real-life dealer George Jung) got screwed over a lot, and I had much sympathy for him, especially since he was so loyal to his friends. But too much of the script relied on the same tired cliches you see in any biopic. Just like the ‘five years later’ trick in “Pollock,” one day his wife just turns into a monster!
I was about to completely give up on this film about two-thirds of the way through. But, unlike most Hollywood scripts, the end does have some emotional resonance that saves it from being a total waste of talent. I started to see where it was going a little better. It’s not original, by any means, but at least I got into it. Maybe if the screenplay was a bit more startling instead of predictable or the direction a little more inventive rather than average, it would have been better. But at least it didn’t suck.