Summer 1977: A record heat wave and the notorious Son of Sam killer are both terrorizing New York City. Director Spike Lee, who co-wrote with Victor Colicchio and Michael Imperioli, uses the rampage of David Berkowitz as a mere background. Unfortunately, the foreground story—life in an Italian neighborhood of Brooklyn, especially the marital problems of a philandering jerk (John Leguizamo) and his trusting wife (Mira Sorvino)—is grating and cliché-ridden, with a tawdry air of exploitation. The film is sloppy and ill-formed, its tone lurching drunkenly from turgid soap opera to soft-core porn, descending at times to low camp. Lee has been quoted as saying that in his neighborhood no one was afraid because Berkowitz was only killing white people, and the film at times projects that callous flippancy.