1 April 2005 | gftbiloxi
Doing It The American Way
Given the subject matter, you expect this independent film by director/writer David Payne to be full of naked bodies gyrating to the beat of club music--certainly not a serious movie with plenty of bite. But JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH scores in both directions, and in spite of the abundance of skin on display it is the story rather than the bodies that linger in mind after the movie ends.
As seen through the eyes of club worker Chad (Johnathan Abue, playing a role loosely based on real-life Dan Peterson), JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH is surprisingly dark and surprisingly factual. Steve Banerjee (Shelley Malil) is just another club owner until he stumbles into the idea of male strippers playing to a women-only audience, and the ringing cash register attracts ambitious and obnoxious choreographer Nick Denoia (Peter Nevargic). Once Denoia gets wise to Banerjee's shady dealings he quickly blackmails the club owner into signing away the touring rights to the show. But when it comes to underhanded manipulations, Banerjee proves Denoia's equal and then some: the sex, drugs, and rock and roll atmosphere of the club quickly gives way to a headlong rush into murder, and the ride is straight down all the way.
Payne's script isn't as tight as it might be, and it sometimes goes off on tangents that add little to the overall impact of the film, but the actors are first rate all the way and increasingly convoluted nature of the conspiracies and counter-conspiracies make for a fascinating ride. And to up the ante, Payne endows the entire film with an unexpectedly dark humor and sense of irony that rings true even in the movie's weaker moments.
Yes, there are plenty of naked bodies (both male and female) on display, but ultimately JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH is less about sex than it is about an extremely unsavory and seldom acknowledged side of the American dream, a drive for success that flattens every moral obstacle it meets. In one particularly memorable scene, Banerjee snarls that Joe Kennedy built his fortune on illegal bootleg liquor and even sitting President Reagan lied to congress to finance a secret war; bending the law is the American way. But not every one can get away with it--and even for those who do there is a price. In this instance the price ranges from emotional deadness to drug addiction to accidental incest to blood. And every one has to pay.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer