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For a Few Lousy Dollars (January 9/00)

Of all the countless Pulp Fiction ripoffs viewers have been subjected to since 1994, For a Few Lousy Dollars must be the most blatant and uncreative one of them all. It apes much of what made Pulp Fiction such a big hit, without bothering to add anything original to the mix.

The surprisingly complicated story follows two separate gangs of thieves as they do what thieves do; steal and take from others. The two gangs meet up when one gang foolishly decides to rob the pizzeria belonging to a well-known underworld character, and the other gang - who are working for said underworld character - have to initiate payback on original foolish gang.

The far-too-busy script has a structure incredibly similar to - what else? - Pulp Fiction, with a timeline that weaves in and out of the present and the past. And whereas Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece used this device sparingly and in a clear manner, For a Few Lousy Dollars uses it so frequently and often without explanation; it really was a challenge figuring out when the movie was in the present and not in flashback.

The cast is made up of unknowns, with the exception of Judd Nelson (!) as a bitter hitman. I'm not entirely sure why he's here, but he's pretty much the only actor who gives a semi-decent performance. The rest belong on stage in Palookaville, USA doing stage readings of Our Town. A majority of the performances were awful with the rest being merely unbearable.

For a Few Lousy Dollars is a shameless and uncreative attempt to capitalize on the success of Pulp Fiction. Had I not seen Pulp Fiction. . .I still would have disliked For a Few Lousy Dollars.

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