Clover, written by Michael Testone and directed by Jon Abrahams, begins when mobster Tony Davolio (Chazz Palminteri) offers brothers Mickey (Jon Abrahams) and Jackie (Mark Webber) a way out of their debt to him. All they have to do is provide back up for the mobster’s son, Joey (Michael Godere), as he collects from another debtor, and they’ll be in the clear. What they never expected, however, was that the Joey would murder the man, or that he would be murdered by Clover (Nicole Elizabeth Berger), a mysterious teenage girl who appears from nowhere. Soon the brothers and the teenager are on the run from hitmen of all stripes, cops, and ex-girlfriends. Hilarity supposedly ensues.
It’s a bad sign when you start checking the time while watching a movie, right? When you’re so bored and disinterested that you’re counting the minutes as they tick by. Comedy is very hard. Action-thrillers are very hard. Combining them can prove especially daunting. Aspiring filmmakers, have you ever watched a Quentin Tarantino film and thought to yourself, “I can do that?” Clover is proof that it is much more difficult than it looks. It is a comedy that fails to elicit laughs and a thriller devoid of thrills. What makes it all the more heartbreaking is that at every moment, you can see exactly what they are trying to accomplish but never quite managing to achieve. Clover is a good idea that never lives up to its potential.
“…the brothers and the teenager are on the run from hitmen of all stripes, cops, and ex-girlfriends.”
The problems are deep in the movie’s metaphorical bones. While it is a good premise, Clover lacks certain elements that make it worth watching. None of the characters are sympathetic or interesting. I don’t care about any of these people. Each character introduced is more absurd than the one before, becoming more clownish as the movie progresses. At no point did I want to know more about them or their lives. Not that the film could be bothered to expound upon their personalities beyond their one-sentence character description.
Laden down with tired clichés Clover is a sluggish brute of a movie. It almost collapses under its weight, as it lumbers along at a decidedly dreary dirge of a pace. On the plus side, all those clichés are a perfect excuse to play noir bingo. You’ve got the angry young mobster, the cultured criminal boss, the loan shark yelling about respect, the meathead goons, and the hyper-sexualized femme fatale. Of course, in the free square, you have the word f**k.
"…those clichés are a perfect excuse to play noir bingo."