Truth be told, Lonely Street isn't really anything special. As a comedy, it only elicits a handful of chuckles, as a mystery it deosn't hold much intrigue, and even as far as offbeat stories about a still-living Elvis and his present whereabouts goes, Don Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep has the market cornered. On the other hand, it's a cynical time filled with cynical movies, and in the end, the attitude Lonely Street won me over. I mean, who doesn't want to believe The King is as cool as ever, hiding out in a mysterious mansion somewhere, debating whether or not to make a comeback?
Jay Mohr plays Bubba Mabry, a private investigator who is hired by man calling himself JG (Mike Starr) to do a job for a mysterious celebrity. That celebrity turns out to be The King (an unrecognizable Robert Patrick, doing his a solid Elvis impression), who wants Bubba to follow another guy who's been pestering him. Bubba agrees, but what starts out as a surveillance job soon turns into a homicide investigation, when the mark turns up dead, with several curious characters, including a hooker named Bambi (Nikki Cox), a record producer named Jerry Finkleman (Joe Mantegna), and a mysterious woman named Felicia (Lindsay Price) all appearing to be involved.
In the past few years, I've noticed a surprising amount of hatred directed at Jay Mohr, and I don't know where it comes from. It's not like he pops up in everything (I mean, the guy's biggest claims to fame are a small role in Jerry Maguire, starring in Jane Austen's Mafia! and several decade-old television shows, for crying out loud), and I always thought he was a reasonably funny guy, so I had no problem with him here. He stumbles over the use of "dadgummit" five out of six times, and he sports a lame mustache at the end of the film, but other than that, he's charismatic and scores a line here and there when the script doesn't let him down.
The rest of the supporting cast is pretty good too. Since I started reviewing for DVDTalk I've seen a lot of movies where character actors like Joe Mantegna pop up in these low-budget films and seem tired and uninterested or don't get anything to work with, but Mantegna is memorably entertaining, embracing the role's broad comedy with enthusiasm. Lindsay Price also matches well with Mohr, although the potential romantic tension between the characters is left mostly undeveloped. A slew of other recognizable faces get bit parts, like Borat's Ken Davitan as a hotel owner and The 40-Year-Old Virgin's Gerry Bedknob as a landlord. As far as it goes, my only quibbles involved John F. O'Donohue as the guy Bubba is hired to follow -- not because he's bad, but because the script makes a big deal out of how fat he's supposed to be (why not cast Davitan in this role instead?) -- and Nikki Cox, who looks a little weird (am I crazy, or is she wearing fake, enlarged lips during parts of this movie?).
The majority of Lonely Street, however, is about Elvis, and he's portrayed with a lightly comedic level of cool that really makes the movie entertaining. The movie is based on a book by Steve Brewer, and while it's one thing to write that the characters encounter Elvis Presley, but it's another to bring it to life. I've pretty much only seen Robert Patrick play villains and bad guys, but he's great as The King, on par with Campbell's performance in Ho-Tep and Val Kilmer in True Romance as far as Elvis performances I can think of. The King even performs a "new" song in the movie, and while I wouldn't necessarily say it's on par with Elvis's other hits, it's entertaining enough to listen to.
Like I said, Lonely Street really isn't anything special, but it's more than a decent, enjoyable time-killer. Even as I write this, the details of the mystery that's supposed to be the center of the plot are already fading from my memory, and I just watched the movie less than twenty minutes ago. If it was on TV, though, it's good enough that I bet you'd stop flipping channels and give it a spin. If Elvis was alive, I wonder if he'd watch it.
The DVD, Video and Audio
Echo Bridge Entertainment sent me a screener disc in a sleeve, with a paper-printed disc label, so I can't comment on the packaging, video or audio qualities of the final product.
A brief search of the internet suggests that the final product will include behind-the-scenes cast interviews, the "The Making of Lonely Street" and "Making of Elvis" featurettes, three exclusive songs by Elvis impersonator James "The King," Brown (ironic name!), including "When the Rebel Comes Home" (the one I mentioned earlier, which in the meantime can be viewed here at the movie's YouTube channel), and a music video, but all that's included on the copy I got for review is the movie's original trailer.
I'm slightly torn on what to do, but since I can only review what's put in front of me, I'm going to say that anyone interested in Lonely Street should rent it. It's possible that the bonus features on the DVD would be good enough for me to just barely upgrade to a recommendation, but unless Echo Bridge decides to send over final product, I can't say for sure.
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