Drive-Away Dolls – Dir: Ethan Coen (Film Review)

Drive-Away Dolls proves one Coen brother is better than none, especially when Ethan teams up with writer/producer/wife Tricia Cooke for this hilarious road movie.

Starring: Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, Pedro Pascal, Bill Camp, Matt Damon

It’s 1999 and Y2K is one everyone’s mind…everyone, that is, except young Jamie a fun-loving, free-spirited lesbian who has just broken up with her girlfriend. Needing a change of scenery, Jamie (Margaret Qualley) enlists her much more reserved friend, Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan) to join her for a drive from New Jersey to Tallahassee where Marian is hoping to get some birdwatching in. Jamie has other plans for her demure friend.

The duo rent a car from the hapless Curlie (Bill Camp) who runs a shoddy (and shady) shop with dubious clientele. In classic B-movie fashion, the gals get the wrong car, one that a couple of bumbling crooks were meant to have and the fun begins as Arlis and Flint (Joey Slotnick and C.J. Wilson) hit the road hot on the trail of our young friends who are oblivious to the suitcase and its unsavoury contents sitting in the car’s boot.

But enough about the plot, because the star here is the dialogue, particularly the stream of jokes, quips, obscenities and whatever else that enters the mind of Jamie. She seems to have no filter and poor Marian is at first overwhelmed, but later…

Imagine Thelma & Louise meets Raising Arizona and you’ve got a feel for what’s going on here, with Jamie’s exaggerated Southern accent channeling Nicolas Cage’s greatest performance.

Be warned…there is non-stop sex, violence, nudity and downright stupidity through this brisk 84 minute feature, and I have to say I haven’t laughed out loud so much as during a film for quite a while.

There’s even a trippy cameo sequence starring…well I don’t want to spoil the surprise…only to say that the film is dedicated to the great Cynthia Plaster Caster, the young lady from Chicago who made her name by making plaster casts of prominent musicians’ members.

Jimi Hendrix would be proud and you’ll be entertained from the beginning to the somewhat predictable, but nonetheless, hilarious end of Drive-Away Dolls.

Joel and Ethan are reported to be considering a new film together…I suggest they keep Tricia Cooke on for laughs.

Marty Duda

Drive Away Dolls opens in cinemas today. Click here for tickets and showtimes.