Go Go Tales



CANNES -- "Look but don't touch" is the admonition customers get at Ray Ruby's Paradise strip joint. Buyers might heed similar advice for this scuzzy cinematic playing Out of Competition from Abel Ferrara. A preposterous blend of a backstage musical with a strip-joint tease tale, "Go Go Tales" is as outdated as the whole "go-go" craze.

Revolving around Ray (Willem Dafoe), who suffers from the predictable Ferrara predilection -- addictive gambling -- it's a bleary nonsense predicated on the fact that Ray has blown the dancers' payroll on the Lotto. Since when do strip joints meet a payroll for the dancers? They work on tips and, most likely, pay the establishment to dance. Surprisingly, Ferrara does not seem to have done his story homework.

Amazingly dunderheaded, "Go Go Tales" is most palatable when it is unintentionally funny, in particular a bizarre finale when the strippers all perform individual acts on stage for Ray's weekly talent-night production: No, they don't perform peculiar sexual debaucheries, they actually play the piano, do magic and, best of all, the bouncer recites Shakespeare.

Technically sloppy, the film has a dim, dark look that might be most advantageous to the actors slumming in this titillation: Willem Dafoe, Bob Hoskins, Sylvia Miles and Roy Dotrice. With his hair all blonded, up as if auditioning for a new "Dumb and Dumber," Matthew Modine is hard to miss, however, particularly when he sings with a little doggie.