Niagara Motel (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner09/11/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Niagara Motel stays watchable thanks to likeable characters and a certain amount of quirky charm but it never quite pulls it all together.

The Background
Niagara Motel is based on George F. Walker’s 1997 Suburban Motel, a series of plays which all take place in the same motel room. Though the individual stories never quite gel into a satisfying whole, it’s still a quirky, interesting film with likeable characters and some sharply written lines.

The Story
The film follows eight different people, all of whom are staying in a seedy hotel, managed by grieving widower Phillie (Craig Ferguson). Loretta (Caroline Dhavernas) is a pregnant waitress pursued by three would-be lovers - stapler salesman Dave (Tom Barnett), baby-father Gilles (Normand Daneau) and sleazy hustler Michael (Kevin Pollak).

The other characters include Denise (Anna Friel) and RJ, a recovering drug addict and an ex-con trying to get their lives back together in order to regain custody of their baby from social services, and Boris (Damir Andrei) and his daughter Sophie (Catherine Fitch), the Serbian immigrants who own the motel.

The Bad
Niagara Motel seems to flaunt the unwritten law of multi-character movies. There’s very little cross-over between the different stories, which is a little disappointing in places. Similarly, it occasionally feels unfocussed and sloppy – there’s no unifying theme to the film, aside from the general relationship connection.

The Good
The quirky script is packed with good lines and off-the-wall moments and the stories are surprisingly moving in places. The acting is extremely good too, particularly from Wendy Crewson, Kevin Pollak and Anna Friel. Admittedly, Ferguson is a little one-note and starts to grate after a while but, then, doesn’t he always?

The Conclusion
In short, Niagara Motel is worth seeing for its witty lines and its quirky, likeable characters, though it’s a shame the script couldn’t have been a little sharper.

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Content updated: 20/08/2018 15:36

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