Let me just get this out there before I go any farther: Alpha Dog is a bad movie. It’s full of wooden performances, terrible casting and one directing mishap after another. That said, Justin Timberlake has a starring role in the film, so it is bound to be at least moderately successful.
Kids are stupid
Let me just get this out there before I go any farther: Alpha Dog is a bad movie. It’s full of wooden performances, terrible casting and one directing mishap after another. That said, Justin Timberlake has a starring role in the film, so it is bound to be at least moderately successful. Here’s what is scary: Justin Timberlake (of musical prodigies N’Sync) is not the worst part of Alpha Dog.
Based on the true story of Jesse James Hollywood (depicted in the movie as Johnny Truelove), the plot unravels from one scene of suburban excess to another. See, Johnny (Emile Hirsch) is a drug dealer who has a gnarly posse of tattooed rich kids. After one of his deals goes bad, Johnny doesn’t know what to do. He isn’t badass enough to just kill the dude, so he does what every other criminally impotent suburban kid does for revenge–gets his gaggle of idiots together and throws rocks through the offending party’s windows (t.p.ing his bushes would have been more effective). But, oh crap! It turns out breaking an insane white supremacist’s windows isn’t the best idea and shit hits the (proverbial) fan.
Outmatched again by a violent individual, Johnny resorts to yet another spineless maneuver-he kidnaps the wacko’s 15-year-old kid brother. The kid is upset at first, but soon realizes that these kids are cool (a 15-year-old kid would actually think like this). He’s being held for ransom, but really is just hanging out, smoking weed, playing videogames and generally sucking in the vacuous “gangster” lifestyle of Johnny Truelove’s posse.
After a day or so, they decide to kill him. It turns out that kidnapping someone and then parading him around in front of no less than 40 witnesses can (holy shit!) get you in trouble. The logical move is to kill him (apparently), but the posse has some doubts about the whole thing. Justin Timberlake cries. I won’t spoil the ending because it’s the only part of the film that has any entertainment value at all, because the decision to kill someone or not is problematic (even for wannabe gangsters).
As stated before, Alpha Dog has many, many problems. There are exactly two actors in the entire film who fill their roles competently. Anton Yelchin as Zach Mazursky (aka naive kidnapping victim) is believable as a 15-year-old kid, mainly because he is a 15-year-old kid. The other success (if you could call a part with five minutes of screen time “a success”) is Bruce Willis as Sonny Truelove, the only real gangster in the movie. Everyone else fails. Especially bad is Emile Hirsch as Johnny Truelove. His performance is so lacking in dynamism and, you know … skill, that I would be hard pressed to find a worse recent performance in a major production. And did I mention that Justin Timberlake plays a tough guy (and he has two “acting faces” as far as I can tell-grimacing and crying)?
This is all beside the point though when we consider the entire production. Featuring an ineffectual story with a worse script that changed mid-way through shooting (the real Jesse James Hollywood was caught in Buenos Aires), ridiculous casting and editing and finally a seemingly fierce lack of directing.
Most people involved with Alpha Dog seem to realize what is painfully obvious–this film is a piece of shit. After floundering in post-production hell, a release date was chosen and Alpha Dog dumped on an audience that will be mainly Justin Timberlake fans. Good riddance.
The Script that works!
Angela Holden: So you’re like… ransom.Julie Beckley: That’s hot.Zack Mazursky: It’s ok. It’s like, another story to tell my grandchildren.Julie Beckley: Stolen boy.