I never thought a film about an underage runaway who gets mixed up in an all-female street gang could ever be dull, but then there’s this movie. It’s like an After School Special with cursing, violence and some nice panty shots. Despite these three wonderful elements, I still couldn’t get myself interested in “All Night Bodega.”
Venus, a rebellious fifteen-year-old girl decides to runaway from home when she can’t take being around her foster mother, or the undercover cop she’s been dating anymore. Not that home life was all that difficult, but you know these kids today. Venus roams about New York, bouncing from place to place to crash until she finally comes across a female street gang who jack her in and make her one of their own. This is when Venus’ life of crime begins as the gang sells drugs and rips people off to make a living. Venus also falls for the dashing Papo, who…oops…is an undercover police officer. What is Venus to do?
It’s surprising that a film with these street life events can be so dull and I blame it on the credibility of the relationships between the characters. Once on the streets, a kind elderly man offers her a room in his apartment. It’s never certain what his motive is – is he just a kind old guy, or is he getting ready to make his move – either way, one of the other guys living there rapes her one evening. Also, the gang she falls into doesn’t feel real to me. For a film about life on the streets, you better get as real as you can or people just won’t pay attention. And mostly, the whole Papo character, the undercover cop that Venus takes a liking to, is barely developed past his good looks, thus making the relationship between he and Venus all the more hollow.
However, the film definitely has a professional look to it and some of the performances hit the mark, mostly Jaime Tirelli as the undercover cop dating Venus’ mother. It’s just too bad that the guts in this finely molded body are so weak.