Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Keri Russell.
Mad About Mambo (2000)
Written and Directed by John Forte
Hoping to improve his footwork and be recruited by a professional soccer team, Danny (William Ash) rents some VHS tapes to learn the samba. Incidentally, Lucy (Russell) needs a new dance partner after her boyfriend gets hurt playing soccer. With Lucy’s dance competition and Danny’s tryouts scheduled for the same day, nothing can go wrong.
For a film about passions, Mad About Mambo is both the biggest advocate of following your dreams and the biggest buzzkill. Each of Danny’s friends nurses a passion, from budding fashion designer, to magician, to using his tough appearance to manipulate people (commenting on Belfast’s violent reputation, Mad About Mambo‘s set in Ireland). Where the film requires a leap of confidence is in Danny’s chances of getting recruited. Sports are nothing if not notorious for competition and the team he’s on is lousy. Samba may improve Danny’s moves but his track record seems too stacked and last minute for a viable future in the game. If this is my lack of sports knowledge showing, more power to him, but it’s like the movie morphs you into this horrible person that keeps throwing baking soda and doubt on Danny’s fire. The best part is that given every opportunity to give up (his favorite pro team being unmasked for jerks), he doesn’t.
Lucy’s not as lucky. Not only does the movie give her no breaks but it does so without mercy. First it sabotages her dance competition. Then it traps her in a weighted love triangle, where she has to be a jerk to her committed boyfriend. I mean, he’s not great, but he deserves better than to find her with Danny in his pool, in their underwear, dancing (not innuendo).
Then, instead of giving her the dignity of a burn bridges moment, the film puts her back together with her boyfriend, and links her decision of where to go to college with who she chooses romantically (boyfriend for away college, Danny for local). Lets not consider the fact that she doesn’t want to work at her father’s store anymore, and might want to get away for that reason alone. It’s all about the guy.
Verdict: Better Left Buried
With the ending settling nothing, Mad About Mambo is too frustrating for Keri Russell’s Irish accent or a potentially sweet romance to change the verdict.
Erin Miskell has Buried Credits next week, with a film that will take us to the beach… but not for a vacation (dun, dun dun).