Certain movies start out promising and get better. Others, well,...don't. Black Limousine starts out very promising: a recovering alcoholic, some nighttime limo driving and a jazzy score to bring all the smoky goodness together. Unfortunately, this movie takes a bizarre turn for the worse. David Arquette deserves better.
Starring in Black Limousine, he portrays Jack MacKenzie, an alcoholic Hollywood composer who had it all: dream job, beautiful wife and daughter. He loses his cushy job writing film scores and his wife divorces him after a tragic DUI accident. In order to provide for his ex-wife and daughter, Jack talks his way into a job at a limo service driving for the same people he previously worked with. One of his fellow drivers, Hitch (David Jean Thomas), tells him the grisly history of the limo he gets to drive: the previous driver killed his wife in the backseat. Despite this knowledge, he accepts the job, and the limo, and gets to work.
One night after driving for a raucous goth band, Jack heads to an AA meeting, where he meets Erica (Bijou Phillips), a fellow alcoholic and struggling actress. He tries to befriend her by telling her how much he likes her latest vodka billboard, and she mistakes him for an overeager fan and wants nothing to do with him. Eventually she warms up to Jack and tells him she's three car payments away from losing everything. They commiserate over coffee.
Jack soon lands a gig driving a successful Australian actor named Thomas Bower (Nicholas Bishop) to and from a movie set. During one of their drives, Jack tells Thomas that he was once a Hollywood composer and Thomas promises to introduce him to the right and influential people so Jack can get back on his feet. Jack is elated.
At the movie set he encounters Erica, who has a part in the film as a princess and here's where Black Limousine gets weird. Jack and Erica sit in a spaceship prop and imagine themselves floating through space as they watch a video screen. They dance, have fun and goof around on the set and all this is set to some slow, disjointed, cheesy special effects and music right out of a bad 1980's science fiction movie. Things went downhill from here.
From this point on, the film is interspersed with strange, trippy music videos and it becomes hard to discern what is reality and what is Jack's fantasy. Vivica A. Fox shows up in a brief cameo highlight as a producer who asks Jack to give a script to Thomas Bower and Jack agrees but only in exchange for a chance to compose the film. When Thomas gets the script, he feels like Jack's meal-ticket and fires him. Jack finds out that Erica and Thomas may be having a fling and he gets angry and says things he quickly regrets. He goes back to his apartment to try to compose but his neighbors have made complaints about the noise and his landlady, played by Lin Shaye, demands rent. She also asks if he has found any parts for her since she is a struggling actress herself. This is Hollywood, after all.
Jack quickly falls into a downward spiral messing up on the job, with his ex-wife and her new husband, and the nightmare of the DUI and its tragic consequences come flooding back to him. It all culminates in a very scary ending that you're never really sure is Jack's reality or just all in his head.
This movie gave me the feeling that the filmmakers constantly changed their mind about what direction the film should take and what to leave on the cutting room floor. Part "Christine," part "Leaving Las Vegas" and a whole lot of confusing mess, Black Limousine doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and if Mr Arquette deserves better, we, as the audience, certainly do as well.
1 Remote out of 5
2012 Rated R 101 minutes