Fast Food, Fast Women

There is little food in Fast Food, Fast Women, and the only thing fast about the women (and the men) is how quickly they become irritating. Fast Food, Fast Women is a look into the lives of some lonely New Yorkers by writer/director Amos Kollek (Fiona, Sue). They are lonely, shallow, self-absorbed, and do little but complain about their love lives. Bella (Anna Thompson, Water Drops on Falling Rocks, Stringer) is nearing her thirty-fifth birthday. She works as a harangued waitress at a local diner, and is waiting for her 'boyfriend' to leave his wife and move in with her. It is not a happy life, and she desperately needs something better. She meets Bruno (Jamie Harris, Made Men, Dinner Rush), a single father of two and unpublished writer. On the advice of a friend, she tells Bruno that she hates children then beds him immediately, thinking that this will attract him to her instead of repelling him.

The only people repelled are the audience. Not because of what she is doing, but at how clumsily Kollek handles this. In another of the major stories, Paul (Robert Modica, Witness to the Mob, Men of Respect) and Emily (Louise Lasser, Requiem for a Dream, Mystery Men), two lonely elderly people, test the waters in their own relationship. Paul is reluctant to become intimate unlike Emily, who wants nothing more than to jump in the sack. In some of the other pointless and random stories, another old man chases after a stripper (who dances seductively by her window), and a Polish hooker with a stutter looks for ways to better her son. Kollek moves back and forth between the stories. Some of the characters eat in Bella's diner, others ride in Bruno's taxi. Kollek's goal was probably to show that in some way, everybody has the same problems. However, these people are inane and inept. A story of one pair is bad enough, switching between them makes it worse, verifying fears that yes, the world is full of idiots. It would be nice if there was something to look forward to.

There is a small amount of tenderness in Paul and Emily's romance. Unfortunately, it emerges only near the end of the movie. All the sequences leading up to the culmination of their romance are not worth sitting through. Watching Bella and Bruno is worse. Bruno is okay. He is trying to better himself. He does change throughout the movie, becoming more of a father than he was at the onset. The Bella character is just annoying. Thompson is haggard and gaunt, and her character is prone to long monologues of nothing but complaints. And she does nothing about her situation. Instead of changing things, she just complains. The one good thing about Fast Food, Fast Women is that the performances work. In particular, Lasser, Modica, and Harris present good portraits of people in pain. Again, one must sift through the bad attempts at conflict in order to see them truly act. It all comes from Kollek's script. With story like this, one has to make sure that things come across as poignant or funny instead of tiresome. Fast Food, Fast Women falls squarely into the latter category.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated R for sexuality/nudity and language.

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