I hate films that rest upon one mistake that could readily be rectified. In the first five minutes, with a little bit of forensic investigation, the whole downfall-into-chaos could be averted.
Once things get rolling, however, CLAY PIGEONS does pick up a bit of speed. In the end, however, I’m afraid that it just rests on too improbable a beginning.
The three main performers – Janeanne Garofalo, Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix, are all quite good in the film. I found that Georgina Cates was far too over the top as the psycho girlfriend. The story tries to hard to break from the clichés of the psychopath genre, only to find itself relying upon these clichés for much of the film. When Dobkin tries to step away and create something interesting, he is drawn back into a form of happy ending that is quite unpalatable.
If it was less directed at a wide audience, CLAY PIGEONS would be a much better film. As it stands, it is a fairly enjoyable romp with a bunch of yokels, complete with their inevitable screw ups and misunderstandings. I expect more from this director in the future, as he obviously has a keen eye and good skill. I just would have
hoped for more from this potentially good film.