Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Slasher (2004)

John Landis directed this IFC documentary about a wiry and wily mercenary-for-hire used car salesman. The Slasher (aka a dude from California, name of Michael Bennett) swoops down on a moribund auto dealership in Memphis TN in order to boost sales on a holiday weekend. Aside from a stone-faced DJ and some trucked-in beauties for eye candy, the chief bait is an "$88 car" supposedly hidden somewhere on the lot. The awful truth is that in the depressed local economy, the only car people can afford is an $88 car, so nobody has any interest in shopping beyond the gimmick, or even listening to sales pitches. When there's anybody on the lot other than the inflatable tube dancers, that is. Bennett, obviously accustomed to success, crashes and burns as gracefully as used-car-selling con man can -- smoking and drinking the whole way down. Several moments will induce flinches in veterans of the retail wastelands. At least the Slasher has opportunity to get elbow-deep in a plate of Memphis BBQ before returning to his loving family at the end. Meanwhile, that $88 car is still out there somewhere....

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