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May 16, 2010

Holy Rollers

Holy Rollers Jesse Eisenberg runs the risk of becoming a parody of his own invention in this wrongheaded attempt by newbie director Kevin Asch at telling a potentially interesting true story in an all too prosaic way. In spite of playing Sam Gold, a 20-year-old Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn, Eisenberg uses every one of his attention deficit acting tics. While working in his father's Manhattan fabric store, Sam is tempted by his best friend's older brother Yosef (Justin Bartha) to help smuggle drugs from Amsterdam. It doesn't help that Sam has just been turned down by the well off family of the girl he was hoping to start a family with. Criminal stereotypes mesh with genre clichés as Sam's ego balloons under the quick success he has with bringing vast doses of ecstasy in to the country via his plain clothes Hasid disguise. When the final credits roll and it's reveled that the movie is based on a real life ring of Jewish drug peddlers, it comes as an insult for the overall levity with which the material has been handled. It's not that Jesse Eisenberg isn't capable of doing good dramatic work, as opposed to the satirical comedies he's built his career on, it's that he isn't yet making that distinction for himself, or for his audience. 

Rated R. 89 mins. (C-) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)


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