American Buffalo

Bomb Rating: 

Maybe if playwright David Mamet keeps writing these films wherepeople talk like someone is sending electric shocks into their genitals via remote control, he'll eventually have enough duds to retire and spend all day hanging out with the losers and miscreants he tries to write (and I use that term loosely) about.

Not unlike "Glengarry Glenn Ross," this Mamet adaptation takes place in a very confined space, involves little or no action and is mostly concerned with how many minutes an actor can spew Mamet's laborious dialogue without collapsing. Here's a typical David Mamet sentence: "I is tellin' ya Donny ya can't have both friends and partners at the same time cuz ya got to be able to separate the two cuz it's just a good thing to do cuz ya never know when yuz friends are gonna turn on ya so yuz got to keep everything in front of yuz, if yuz know what I'm sayin' cuz I knows ya do."

Dennis Franz plays Donny Dubrow, the owner of a pawn shop and the architect of a plan cooked up with his young, black apprentice, Bobby (Sean Nelson): They're going to steal a guy's coin collection. When "Teach" (Dustin Hoffman) hears about the plan he proceeds to rant and rave about it for the next two hours, effectively confining the entire film to the pawn shop.

While Hoffman goes on and on about Mamet's so-called conception of the "business ethic," irritated viewers will be praying to God that he'll shut up just long enough for the three principles to maybe go somewhere and maybe do something, anything. Unfortunately, it never happens and we're left to suffer through another Mamet play that should never have left the stage.

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