Ken Tucker
February 02, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead

Current Status
In Season
Steve Buscemi, William Forsythe, Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, Gabrielle Anwar, Christopher Walken
Gary Fleder
Scott Rosenberg
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D+

Things to do in Denver when You’re Dead‘s greatest achievement is that there isn’t a single convincing scene in it. Andy Garcia stars as well-dressed con man Jimmy the Saint; he works with a bunch of violent creeps, notably Critical Bill, who likes to work out using corpses as punching bags. Treat Williams is Bill, doing the sort of over-the-top sicko he must think will revive his career. Masterminding the movie’s crime is Christopher Walken in a wheelchair, overacting even more than in Nick of Time. The only good performance is given by Fairuza Balk as a beaten-up prostitute. Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg and director Gary Fleder have created a gaudy, phony, talky thriller — the uncomplicated plot is spelled out in chatter-bug narration by Jack Warden. We’re supposed to be drawn in by all the rococo palaver. Walken has a cryptic term for punishing someone in the most violent, painful way possible: ”Buckwheats!” He yells it, as if issuing a command. ”Buckwheats!” When Garcia romances Gabrielle Anwar, his come-on line is that she ”glides,” and ”girls who glide need men who make them thump.” Malarkey! Malarkey!

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