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Picking Up the Pieces

1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by Alfonso Arau

In a mad rage, a kosher butcher named Tex (Woody Allen) murders his adulterous wife (Sharon Stone), chops her body into pieces, and buries them in a Mexican desert. In time, the dead woman's hand surfaces and an old blind woman trips over it. The … see full wiki

Cast: Cheech Marin
Director: Alfonso Arau
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Picking Up the Pieces

Picking up the Pieces - just plain stupid

  • Dec 16, 2001
Pros: ......

Cons: ......

The Bottom Line: There IS no recommendation

The Oracle says: Cheech Marin has a Bacon number of 2.
Cheech Marin was in Venice Project, The (1999) with Steve Martin
Steve Martin was in Novocaine (2001) with Kevin Bacon ****

In the vein of Sante Sangre and The Killer Tongue, this pseudo comedy was released in 2000, directed by Alfonso Arau (he plays the doctor in it as well). Supposedly taking place in El Nino, New Mexico, it held a heavier flavor of pure Mexico with language, customs, culture and scenery. A remarkably adroit cast list doesn't add character to a movie, as this will attest.

Opening with Tex Cowley (Woody Allen), full time butcher and part time magician, who is married to the town ‘w h o r e', Candy (Sharon Stone), who just happens to be boinking the ‘You-Knighted-States State Trooper', Bobo (Kiefer Sutherland). Although I think Cowley loves his lustful wife, perhaps his true love is his dog, a terrier that they imbue with the bark and bite of a rottweiler, but that is just my take.

Anyway, fed up with Candy's ‘whorin' ways, Cowley decides to dismember her as part of his stage act, plying his trade as a butcher of course. On the way home from his gig, cut up wife in back of the truck, he loses her parts all over the highway through a series of mishaps and potholes. Stopping to gather the scattered parts, he misses one hand, which is found the next day by a stumbling blind woman who is miraculously cured of her blindness when she picks up the hand.

So you see the course of the story now, we are in a deprived area in New Mexico where the inhabitants have a deeply religious background, and we have a sainted hand that performs miracles.

Enter the town priest, Father Leo Jerome (David Schwimmer), after we oust him from the rumpled bed of the true town ‘w h o r e', Dolores (Angelica Aragon), who bears a remarkable resemblance to Mary Magdalene. When he is presented with the sacred hand and it is placed on display in the church, people start arriving from everywhere for a miracle. Of course, we have cures right and left, including the introduction of an 8' penis and an amputee that suddenly grows new legs.

Naturally, this draws the attention of the Vatican, who sends their top miracle investigators, Fathers LaCage & Bunuel (Elliott Gould, Andy Dick) and Sister Frida (Fran Drescher), to look into this unholy abomination. The townspeople swear it is the hand of The Virgin Mary, but we know different. This babe was certainly no virgin - yet we wonder how these miracles are occurring. Hmmmmm .......

Meanwhile, back in El Nino ........ the town mayor, Mayor Machado (Cheech Marin), decides this windfall will put his little town on the map and the riches will pour in, which of course they are with the carved wooden fingers, the blow up fingers, fingers on a stick, sucker fingers, and lighter fingers. Oh, did I forget to mention that the hand was conveniently curled into a fist except for ...... ta da ...... the middle finger. Oh yeah.

Bobo, suspecting that Cowley has done his midnight special in, manages to find a map to the place where Cowley had buried good ol' Candy. Cowley had drawn the map for the dog because he didn't think the dog could find the spot again, but that is another story entirely. Bobo is determined to put Cowley under arrest but is hampered by the town sheriff, Officer Alfonso (Lou Diamond Phillips), and the dog, but that is another story as well.

Later, at the church........, Dolores decides to quit her whorin' ways and tries to get Father Jerome to marry her, Cowley steals the hand back, all the miracles are reversed after Cowley buries the hand with the rest of the body, and the Vatican threesome makes their pronouncement.

Story at 11 ...... did you really think I would give it all away?

Frankly, I've never been an Allen fan. However there were a lot of nuances and innuendos tossed around in this movie that you really had to pay attention to. A lot of words spoken over other speeches, thrown off statements, typical Allen stuff. But that certainly didn't make this a worthwhile movie. In fact, it didn't make it a comedy either.

Overall the acting was atrocious and the script was benign. There were maybe three pretty scenes throughout the movie, mostly centered in the brothel, the broken down church, and the dirt streets of this town. There were many attempts at black humor which I didn't care for, but I am generally not a fan of this type of movie anyway. It bordered between black humor and slap stick, but the marriage wasn't a good one.

Woody Allen played his usual confused, Colombo-like, Jewish man and if they hadn't put Sharon Stones name in the credits I would have never known it was her. Besides, except for her body parts (very fake looking by the way) and an occasional cameo, she wasn't really in the movie after the initial 5 minutes.

Schwimmer, I don't believe, has made a single credible movie and maybe he should just forget this venue completely. Everything I see him in reverts back to the ‘poor me' little boy role he adapts on Friends and frankly it is getting a little stale. None of the other actors that appeared in this movie even deserve honorable mention, other than the hot and tasty Angelica Aragon - smokin! Hector Elizondo & Lily Tomlin played small roles, didn't get mentioned in the credits, to their honor.

It is 95 minutes of pure Hell, avoid it like the plague.


****Compliments of: Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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