Powder Blue

Rated 2.0

Prior to its release, Timothy Lihn Bui’s anemic ensemble drama Powder Blue was notoriously tagged as “The Jessica Biel Stripper Movie.” Although that label equaled the heart-stopping anticipation of such previous cinematic headlines as “Garbo Talks!” (Anna Christie) and “Garfield Goes to England!” (A Tail of Two Kitties), the film still went straight to video. Could it be because it’s a dull-gray replication of the miserable-Angelenos-seek-emotional-connection porn of Crash? At least Paul Haggis’ characters had knee-jerk racism to define them; Bui’s soulful lowlifes are no more than the sum of their clichés. A dying ex-con (Ray Liotta) looks for his long-lost daughter, a good-hearted stripper whose kid is in a coma, while man of faith Forest Whitaker searches for someone to kill him. The point is that “everyone has problems,” but the biggest problem is that we never feel anything.