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Ask the Dust

Released: 2006

Genre: Romance

Runtime: 1 hr 57 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Robert Towne

Starring: Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Donald Sutherland, Eileen Atkins, Idina Menzel, Justin Kirk, Jeremy Crutchley, Ronald France

A film based on the book Ask the Dust by John Fante.

Much is made in the film of two on-going jokes.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

Be very leery of any movie that takes the possession of one's proverbial last nickel quite seriously and literally and makes it the foundation upon which its narrative is constructed. ASK THE DUST, by director Robert Towne, is one such picture.

To my admonitions, I would also include a warning to stay clear of movies that are cast more for star power than for matches with the characters. In this very turgid and tepid tale, set in Depression era L.A., Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek are cast as a pair of unlikely lovers. He is an aspiring but dirt-poor writer named Arturo Bandini, and she is a Mexican waitress named Camilla, who speaks beautiful English but can't read a word of it. They have absolutely no chemistry together, even when they frolic nude in the California surf one night. (Perhaps the movie was filmed somewhere else, since the cold waters there at night would have had them shivering.)

The worst part of Towne's script is the constant drone of the pretentious voice-over. Bandini has thoughts on everything, few of them interesting, which he insists on sharing with us ad nauseam. A blabbermouth with little of interest to say, it's no surprise that he has trouble getting his work published.

Much is made in the film of two on-going jokes. One concerns the only story Bandini appears to have ever sold. It has the word "dog" in the title, but the story doesn't actually have a dog in it. Yeah, I know, that's not very funny. Another concerns Bandini's proclivity for complaining about his food and drink. Even when he steals milk, he spits it out since it isn't quite right. I'd suggest you spit this movie right out. There is nothing in it, save some nice atmospheric sets, that is worth your time or money.

ASK THE DUST runs too long at 1:57. It is rated R for "some sexuality, nudity and language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.