Bottle Rocket (1996) / Comedy-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for language
Running Time: 91 min.

Cast: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Lumi Cavazos, James Caan
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

Review published February 9, 1999

A terrific start of sorts for most of the people involved creatively in this quirky but extremely fun tale.  Director Wes Anderson, who later went on to gain more respect with Rushmore, seems to have a terrific handle on maintaining the proper tone for this black and oddball comedy, no an easy feat by any means.  The Wilson brothers, Owen (The Cable Guy, Anaconda) and Luke (Scream 2, Home Fries), also make quite a debut, making the slightly skewed characters almost endearing and very fun to watch.

Luke Wilson plays Anthony, who gets released after two years in a mental hospital and meets up with his friend Dignan, who has concocted a plan to rob a bookstore (among other proposed heists.) After their first heist, they go on the lam and end up in an out-of-the-way motel where they hide out for a time and Anthony meets Inez (Cavazos, Bless the Child), his new love.

Wes Anderson directs this very off-beat but highly enjoyable comedy that may be unlike almost anything you may have seen before. Lots of frivolity abounds for the  entire running time, but Bottle Rocket always remains very fun to watch and is surprisingly witty in a natural way that definitely doesn't feel scripted.

The Wilsons are interesting to watch in their own geeky way, and the love story presented is both unexpected and refreshingly handled. Bottle Rocket may be highly eccentric, but in that mode it's brilliantly executed by Wes Anderson, and recommended for all who love something just a little bit different.

Qwipster's rating:

1999 Vince Leo