Movies can be delicious, such as this year’s rom-com Bakery in Brooklyn. Despite the fresh food, the charming chemistry between the two leading women is what made the film buoyant. On the other end of the scale, you have Menorca, which is deliciously bad. This film feeds us so much camp, we’re begging for more when the movie begins to clam up.
Menorca also features two female leads, however their bitterness makes it hard to find anything interesting about them. Let’s see: Tammy Gillis plays Claire, an unhappy mother who impulsively abandons her family at her son’s soccer game – she narrates. She sleeps with a hunky hitchhiker who – ironically – abandons her, forcing her to hitchhike. She gets a ride with Jenny (Sheila E. Campbell), a local who dances erotically for forlorn men at a club that would be too David Lynchian for David Lynch. There’s friction between the women at first, but soon they sympathize with each other.
The platonic feeling between Claire and Jenny is the only emotional connection found in Menorca, a senseless film that’s too full of itself to make a legitimate statement about empowerment or redemption. Gillis is convincing as Claire, but the character is too cruel. In an over-the-phone exchange, Claire’s young son tells her, “mommy needs a timeout”. It’s supposed to be an emotional turning point for Claire, but I couldn’t help but shrug and side with the kid.
Jenny – the dancer – is a figment of exploitation cinema, which could’ve been fun in a movie that hadn’t taken itself so seriously. Campbell is given even less to work with than her co-star as she grinds through blank stares in the club, and finds difficulty finding a sound groove during her chats with the cold Claire or the club’s clichéd manager.
Writer/director John Barnard is lacking focus with Menorca in order to define his movie by genre and tone. True, a film can hit multiple targets, but the filmmaker always has a clear understanding of their story’s core. Just like a hitchhiker, Barnard knows where Menorca wants to go. He just has no idea how he’s going to get there.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie