I'll Take You There (1999) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for language
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Reg Rogers, Ally Sheedy, Lara Harris, John Pyper-Ferguson, Adrienne Shelly
Director: Adrienne Shelly
Screenplay: Adrienne Shelly
Review published March 2, 2000
Written and directed by actress Adrienne Shelly, who also has a bit part in this film, I'LL TAKE YOU THERE is an offbeat black comedy that has many bits and pieces that make it worth watching, but as a whole isn't quite substantial enough to remember long afterwards. This is one of those films that is enjoyable because it's so odd that we don't really know what's going to happen next, or what any of the crazy characters are going to have coming out of their mouths at any given time. While I initially was puzzled by the lackadaisical style and strange people, eventually I found myself amused by all the antics, and laughing right along with them.
Reg Rogers plays Bill Bailor, a downcast real estate agent who spends most of his free time gloomily obsessing over the wife Rose, who left him for his friend Ray, a man he sold a house to in upstate New York. Bill's sister tries to snap him out of it by setting him up on a blind date, but Bill's just not ready to be sociable, and proceeds to insult his date Bernice mercilessly to end the evening. However, his words seemed to have a profound effect on Bernice, and when Bill next meets her, she has gone loopy, and takes Bill hostage for a road trip to meet her grandmother and later try to resolve things with Rose.
Without Ally Sheedy's terrifically off-the-wall performance, I'LL TAKE YOU THERE might have been another strange indie misfire. Although this film will probably do nothing to boost her back into stardom, she still shows she can play the kooky girl (a la Allison from THE BREAKFAST CLUB), diving head first into the role and making each scene she is in interesting and energetic. When she's not onscreen, the film starts to go limp, mostly due to the fact that the main character Bill just isn't that interesting or likable.
The rest of the credit for it being a decent flick goes to Adrienne Shelly, who develops some wonderful characterization, smart dialogue, and even if there are missteps every once in a while, the tone of the comedy stays mostly even in its oddness throughout. This is only her second full-length film, and there is enough talent in evidence to warrant an interest in seeing more of her work.
I'LL TAKE YOU THERE is recommended for people who like black comedies, off-beat indie films, or are just curious to see Ally Sheedy in a good performance again. If you liked Jonathan Demme's SOMETHING WILD, you'll probably enjoy this similar but slighter vehicle.
©2000 Vince Leo