Director: John Herzfeld
2 Days in the Valley is an extremely amateurish attempt at an ensemble thriller, a collection of reasonably intelligent ideas thrown together and then told to wrap up RIGHT NOW. Filled with moments and with stars, it quickly & sadly becomes about what doesn’t work rather than what does, leaving all positive possibilities at the feet of too many dead ends. Still, it’s not every day Charlize Theron is this hot, James Spader is this evil, AND Danny Aiello is *this* Italian, so I guess the movie’s got some good things going for it, even if the ending has you scratching your head and wondering “what did I just watch?”
The twisted Lee and the genial Dosmo are off to extract information from the lowlife Roy, while he lays in bed with his ex-wife Becky, who knows that the blonde bimbo Helga had been keeping his bed warm in the interim. Meanwhile, two cops in Vice are preparing to shut down a massage parlor, even though it’s doing no harm, and a washed-up director is preparing to kill himself since he has nothing left to give the world. All their lives are about to collide as crimes go wrong, things get messy, and shit hits the proverbial fan; welcome to California.
Aiello, Spader, Theron, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Glenne Headly, Eric Stoltz, Keith Carradine; this was quite the cast in ’96, if not as much now. Theron was young & hot, that’s for sure, and that’s remembered as, really, the only reason to watch this movie, because otherwise it’s a bit of a bizarre experience. It’s silly, how easily the director thinks we’ll be dazzled by the glitz of Silk Stockings murders and Hollywood love affairs; this kind of story comes a dime a dozen, but the filmmakers seem to have forgotten that. Had they laid into that fact, we could have forgiven more, but, as it was, the plot kinda falls apart. Though not terrible throughout, it definitely crumbles by the end, and you’re left thinking “was that it?” There are little pieces to love, especially Aillo’s storyline, but the cat fight, the supposed coolness, the background info that goes nowhere; there are simply too many holes to fill.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆