Bridge to Nowhere is the story of four young men from a working-class neighborhood who turn to crime (in this case prostitution) to try to escape their dead-end futures, and the dangers, temptations and attendant joys they experience on this path. It’s a story that has been told many times, too many maybe. I’m not sure the makers of Bridge To Nowhere got the memo about this being some tired old shit. Chris Gutierrez’s screenplay is a case study in double-digit IQ filmmaking 101. Clichés that were ancient back when people were writing on stone tablets are given full rein here. Director Blair Underwood (actor in L.A. Law, In Treatment) does show talent—everything is framed well and he gives the dirty streets of Pittsburgh a realistic, menacing look that leaps right out at you like a rabid pit bull. But in addition to the gas-bag screenplay, he is further hamstrung by a hammy performance in the lead role of Ben Crowley. This guy starts off as wide-eyed and spooky as a meth addict and when shit starts going downhill for our heroes, he has nowhere to take the performance. Ving Rhames is good as always and Danny Masterson shines as the attempted voice of reason. Bijou Phillips is alluring and alarming as one of the prostitutes. Mark this under cheesy fun or just plain failure.
Bridge To Nowhere, Image Entertainment. 105 min. Rated R. List Price $27.98. Releases Aug. 18.