Movie Review by Cindy Summers
1 palm trees out of 4
Phoenix, Oregon is the story of a middle aged man whose life is going nowhere when his longtime friend hatches a plan for them to relive some of their younger glory days by reopening the bowling alley they both grew up going to and reinventing it as the best pizza ever made with micro brews and fine wines. Directed and Written by Gary Lundgren and Starring James Le Gross as Bobby the bowling star, Jesse Borrego as Carlos, his best friend and pizza perfectionist and Lisa Edelstein as Tanya, Bobby’s unrequited love interest.
Phoenix, Oregon is set in the actual small town of Phoenix, Oregon, where Bobby works as a bar tender under an oppressive boss that steals his tips and belittles his endeavors. In his younger days he was a legend having bowled a perfect 300 game, but those days of glory were long in Bobby’s past and life offered little to him other than disappointment.
Bobby’s best friend Carlos is a chef, but also unhappy in his situation, so Carlos comes up with a plan for the two to buy the dilapidated bowling alley they basically lived in as kids and make is a prime bowling center with gourmet pizza and fine libations. Tanya enters the picture as a representative for one of the business investors and stirs up some emotional feelings from the past for Bobby.
Bobby and Carlos end up over their heads in a dirty business deal and though they end up losing what they were trying to build, some good things come from their efforts, especially between Bobby and Tanya. This story line is simple and there are really no high or lows, the audience just basically plods along through the simple lives of some simple people in a small town, though does manage to highlight the importance of friendship and to never give up on the things you love and do well.
In this case was cartooning for Bobby, which he did as a hobby to provide a different perspective on him humdrum world, and which in the end he actually decided to pursue as a new direction in his dreary life. Jesse Le Gross does well in portraying this aspect of his character, though the other dreary side drags viewers slowly though the story.
Jesse Borrego was cast well as the best friend Carlos and showed passion and enthusiasm both for premium pizza and his longtime friendship with Bobby. Carlos was really the only joyful character in the movie, though Bobby was able to find his happiness again at the grand opening bowling tournament.
This movie falls flat in providing any real substance, and tends to drag on with trivial issues, though does have a few moments of good feeling entertainment.
Rated R – 108m