I know, this probably comes out of left field as literally everyone has been saying how great and earth-shattering this film is. Producers Mark and Jay Duplass have even pushed this for Academy Awards consideration, which is where I draw the line. Here's the thing: it's one of the few buzzy films that features two transgender leads and a narrative that manages to
barely retain your attention with a clear beginning, middle and end. That's it. I'm actually getting even more infuriated about this as I type this. Listen, I would totally support a film with LGBT leads if it was also good. I feel like it's getting by on what's being interpreted as progressive or politically correct (it's not), and not on any actual merit. TANGERINE is sorely lacking in character development as well as a compelling story.
Let me explain. Actually, here's the IMDB description of the film pretty much sums it up: "A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart." This is in fact exactly what the movie is about, and nothing more. Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), a jilted prostitute, and her BFF and fellow working girl Alexandra (Mya Taylor) have a rather uneventful day railroaded by Sin-Dee's obsession with finding her pimp after Mya tells her he slept with another woman. Yup, you read that right: a prostitute is upset (actually incensed) that her pimp (with whom she feels she's in a monogamous relationship) has been cheating on her so she goes on a tear through Hollywood looking for him. Aside from the ridiculousness of that description, I have a problem with this film being hailed above so many films with LGBT characters and leads. Like, seriously? Sin-Dee and Alexandra aren't even three-dimensional characters. They're caricatures whose little bit of nuance is tacked on about 10 minutes before the film ends. That's unacceptable. This is what's passing as Oscar worthy these days? Come on, people.
While I do admit that there are randomly funny moments in the film, and dialogue that highlight its only fleshed out theme of friendship (Rodriguez and Taylor have great chemistry), I can't take the rest of the film seriously. There are actual scenes in the film that look like they were ripped right out of a Jerry Springer episode. I want to see these two actresses in other, better films--even if it's just to erase TANGERINE out of my head. They deserve better.
Rating: D+ (** out of *****)
Watch the trailer: