An odd film, Blue Iguana doesn’t know if it wants to be an 80’s throwback or a spoof. What is clear is it is a homage to that mercurial decade (I half expected Chuck Norris to show up in a sweaty headband). While Rockwell and Fox revel in their roles, it tends to irritate more than anything.
Sometimes a film comes along with a sense of style all its own that elevates the medium to a better place. Such a unique vision can take a below average script and make it sing. The Blue Iguana is not one of those films and offers such an odd experience you can’t help but wonder why on earth would Sam Rockwell be in a film that is all about style with so little substance? Oliver Daly’s film is clearly a love letter to 80s action characters, but it’s just not a very good one.
The film revolves around Eddie (Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell) and Paul (the acquired taste of Ben Schwartz) who are both on parole and are working in a typical run-down diner you’d guess would have been shut down by the health department multiple times. They are typical parolees, with a bleak future and limited job prospects. Suddenly, a lawyer from England named Katherine Rookwood (Phoebe Fox, playing her character so befuddled one would think she was Hugh Grant’s sister) visits the boys and recruits them to pull off a heist for enough cash to set their futures bright.
The Blue Iguana is the McGuffin that drives the film’s story and what the characters keep running around like little boys for. The issue with the film is that it is more concerned with style over substance, hoping the viewer would ignore the less than entertaining plot and dull dialogue. Sam Rockwell doubles down on the denim, and has such a nothing-will-kill-me-no-matter-the-situation-attitude that I half expected Chuck Norris to show up in a sweaty headband at some point and tag himself in.
To make matters worse, Blue Iguana revels so much in 80’ nostalgia the film doesn’t know if it wants to be a spoof or a throwback. Some scenes come across as Naked Gun, while others are poor impersonations of the decade’s cheesier action films. What is clear is writer/director Oliver Daly spent too much time honouring the mercurial decade instead of spending time forming a script that allows the viewer any type of emotional payoff. The most interesting part of the film is the flirtations between Rockwell and Fox’s characters that were meant to develop laughs, but end up turning your stomach.
The ending is off the wall; while most of the cast revels in their roles, the Blue Iguana tends to irritate more than anything. If this is the type of film being given a chance in theatres because of a new sense of risk-taking options thanks to the popularity of movie subscription services, I’ll be the first to shelve my plan for the greater good.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.