Loosies: Film Review

Loosies Peter Facinelli Running - H 2012
IFC Films

Loosies Peter Facinelli Running - H 2012

Appealingly seedy genre elements drown beneath bland and unconvincing romance.

Peter Facinelli's pickpocket reconciles a life of crime with impending fatherhood.

Playing like a Knocked Up for the penny-ante underworld (minus the jokes), Michael Corrente's Loosies is a vanity project that might have stayed afloat had star/writer Peter Facinelli only tried to sell himself as a none-too-bright crook on the run from bad luck. Making romance a big part of the mix dooms a movie already saddled with one of the worst titles in recent memory.

A "loosie" is a cigarette sold individually instead of by-the-pack; it's also a homophone for Lucy (Jaimie Alexander), a bartender whose one-night-stand with Bobby (Facinelli) resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. Bobby, a pickpocket who told Lucy he was a stockbroker, would know about the pregnancy if the cad hadn't given her a fake phone number the next morning; he doesn't find out until the two accidentally meet three months later.

By that point, Bobby has other problems: He lifted a cop's badge a while back and dumbly used it to get a free cab ride, igniting a scandal that has the cop (Michael Madsen) on the warpath; he's trying to pay off his dead dad's $500 thousand gambling debt with the watches and cell phones he steals for an edgy, karate-obsessed fence (Vincent Gallo); and his mom is sleeping with Joe Pantoliano.

Corrente is at a disadvantage here, with every interesting face in the cast stuck in a supporting role. Scenes between Facinelli and Alexander go nowhere, and are rarely more believable than the forced coincidence of their three-months-later reunion.

The movie's crime-flick elements are hardly more credible than the pregnancy plot (we're meant to believe, for instance, that Madsen's couldn't-care-less flatfoot was on track to become Chief of Police), but they have a grindhouse quality that makes Loosies almost fun in flashes. But flashes are all they are -- pleasures even more fleeting than an off-brand smoke bummed from strangers in an alley.

Opened January 11, 2011 (IFC)
Production Company: Verdi Productions
Cast: Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander, Vincent Gallo, Michael Madsen, Joe Pantoliano, William Forsythe
Director: Michael Corrente
Screenwriter: Peter Facinelli
Producers: Glenn Ciano, Peter Facinelli, Noah Kraft, Chad A. Verdi
Executive producers: Michael Corso, Robert DeFranco, Anthony Gudas, Gino Pereira, John Santilli, Robert Tarini, Michelle Verdi
Director of photography: Sam Fleischner
Production designer: Robert Rotondo Jr.
Music: Chad Fischer
Costume designer: Caroline Errington
Editor: Daniel Boneville
PG-13, 89 minutes