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"ASK THE DUST"
(2006) (Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Heavy Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Extreme Mild Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A struggling Italian-American writer and a fiery Mexican waitress end up having an affair in Depression-era Los Angeles.
PLOT:
It's 1930s Los Angeles and Italian-American writer Arturo Bandini (COLIN FARRELL) has burned through most of the money he arrived with five months ago hoping to become the next big author. Suffering from writer's block and a lack of funds, and occasionally receiving visits from alcoholic war veteran Hellfrick (DONALD SUTHERLAND), his luck would seem to change when he meets the ravishing Camilla Lopez (SALMA HAYEK), a Mexican waitress who works at a nearby restaurant.

But they're like cats and dogs around each other, although their antagonistic behavior obviously hides a growing desire between them, something bartender Sammy White (JUSTIN KIRK) is quick to note. It's not long before Arturo and Camilla are having a torrid affair, but that doesn't stop him from also seeing homemaker Vera Rifkin (IDINA MENZEL) who suddenly appears in his life.

As time passes and Arturo tries to make a living writing for editor H.L. Mencken, he and Camilla try to sort out their feelings about each other as well as trying to live the American dream in desperate times.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the film, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some sexuality, nudity and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • COLIN FARRELL plays an Italian-American writer who's arrived in Depression-era Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a big success. He has his ups and downs in that career, just like his relationship with Camilla with whom he ends up having an affair despite treating her badly from time to time. He also has sex with Vera.
  • SALMA HAYEK plays a fiery Mexican waitress who similarly falls for him despite seemingly not always liking the writer and the way he treats her. She ends up having sex with him, smokes pot and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • IDINA MENZEL plays a mysterious woman who shows up at Arturo's rental place and then ends up having an affair with him. She has badly scarred skin from unknown causes that she says led to her husband no longer wanting her.
  • JUSTIN KIRK plays the bartender where Camilla works who seems to have a thing for her and may or may not have hit her off-screen.
  • DONALD SUTHERLAND plays a boozing war veteran who lives near Arturo and occasionally visits him. XXXXXXXXX
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word (and another possible one), while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as are several sexual encounters (with nudity, movement and sounds), while other sex is implied and a couple is seen skinny-dipping in the ocean at night (male and female full frontal and rear nudity is seen). One of those encounters nearly turns to rape but the man can't go through with it, while a little bit of hitting occurs and a woman is killed in an earthquake (the death is not seen, but her arm sticks out of the rubble).

    Those scenes might be unsettling to some viewers, while a major character dies from tuberculosis. Other thematic elements include racism that also constitutes some of the bad attitudes that are present. Various characters drink and/or smoke (with a lot of the latter occurring), while brief drug use (pot) occurs and is commented on. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • During the opening credits, there's a drawing of a beer mug and bottle.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • We see liquor bottles in the back of a bar.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in the diner.
  • Camilla offers to get Arturo a beer and then brings him one. When he gets mad at her, however, he pours it out to spite her.
  • We hear that Hellfrick was gassed in the great war (WWI) and that he's been "gassed" ever since (presumably meaning drunk).
  • Arturo orders a scotch highball.
  • About getting some beef, Hellfrick says that red meat will keep him off the hard stuff (liquor).
  • Vera comes into Arturo's room and appears possibly intoxicated as she makes fun of his writing.
  • Arturo has beer and Vera has whiskey in a tavern.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in the diner where Camilla brings a beer to Arturo.
  • A passage read from some writing says that a person's eyes were brilliant from too much bourbon.
  • Camilla smokes a joint and when Arturo gets mad at her, she says that she's not a "hop head" and that she smokes every once in a while when she's tired. Nevertheless, Arturo tells her to quit.
  • Arturo has wine.
  • There's a wine glass by Arturo while he sleeps.
  • There's talk of marijuana and that Camilla lied to Arturo about quitting using it.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see horse dung on the road.
  • Vera strips down in front of Arturo to show him bad scars on her legs (we see them as well as her bare butt).
  • Camilla has a black eye and it's implied that Sammy hit her.
  • Camilla coughs up a little blood onto a handkerchief.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Arturo's landlady says that they don't allow Mexicans or Jews to stay in the hotel.
  • Hellfrick tells Arturo that the milkman comes up to his room for something other than delivering milk (it's never clear for what, but it could be sexual), but Hellfrick is telling Arturo that so that he can steal milk from the milk truck while the driver is preoccupied. Arturo then does that, but discovers back in his room that he stole buttermilk rather than milk.
  • Arturo and Camilla immediately have bad attitudes toward each other upon meeting in the diner where she works (she tells him he hopes he dies of heart failure, prompting him to drop his head to the table as if that occurred, while he makes fun of her shoes and pours some bad coffee on his nickel payment to her).
  • Camilla offers to get Arturo a beer and then brings him one. When he gets mad at her, however, he pours it out to spite her.
  • Camilla tells a white lie about having read one of Arturo's stories (he calls her on that).
  • Camilla tears up Arturo's book while mad at him.
  • While mad at him, Camilla says to Arturo, "You dago son of a bitch."
  • Vera says that her husband said she was deformed and disgusting (from bad scars on her legs).
  • A person makes (what sounded like) the comment of "That's real white of you."
  • Sammy tells Arturo that he's too nice to Camilla.
  • The terms "spic," "gringo," "wop," and "greaser" are used among others.
  • About Camilla (and women in general), Sammy tells Arturo, "Never let them forget who's boss."
  • Camilla has a black eye and it's implied that Sammy hit her.
  • Camilla refers to some men as "a bunch of Japs."
  • A young white woman looks disgusted when Camilla (who's Mexican) sits next to her in a theater. That woman and the man with her then get up and leave.
  • There's talk of marijuana and that Camilla lied to Arturo about quitting using it.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • While skinny-dipping in the rough surf at night, Camilla disappears, prompting Arturo to panic as he tries to find her, but she's just playing a joke on him and is fine. In response, he grabs her by the head, and pushes and throws her into the surf, prompting her to hit him.
  • Camilla and Arturo lie side by side on the bed clothed, but she eventually gets mad and says that he can't "f*ck or write." After she gets up, he grabs and throws her to the bed and starts to undress. She repeatedly yells for him to stop, but he keeps throwing her to the bed and then gets on top of her as if to forcibly have sex with her, but he can't go through with it.
  • There's an earthquake (seen outdoors) where property damage occurs, people are tossed about and a ripple in the ground is seen coming toward Arturo. We then see an arm (no blood) sticking up out of the rubble, meaning the person (a supporting character) is dead.
  • When Arturo grabs Camilla's bag (for having pot in it), the car they're in swerves down the road and nearly hits another car.
  • A major character is sick and then dies of tuberculosis.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Mexican sh*t," "Jerk," "I hope you die of heart failure," "You dago son of a bitch," what sounded like "That's real white of you," "Spic," "Gringo," "Greaser," "Are you nuts?" "Oh for Pete's sakes," "Crappy," "A lover of beast and man alike," "I'm not a hop-head" (drug user), "A bunch of Japs," "Wop" and "G*ddamn you."
  • While skinny-dipping in the rough surf at night, Camilla disappears, prompting Arturo to panic as he tries to find her, but she's just playing a joke on him and is fine.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (used sexually -- while there's another possible "f" word), 2 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 3 S.O.B.s, 1 crap, 5 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "G-damn," 2 of "Jesus Christ" and "Swear to God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Hellfrick tells Arturo that the milkman comes up to his room for something other than delivering milk (it's never clear for what, but it could be sexual), but Hellfrick is telling Arturo that so that he can steal milk from the milk truck while the driver is preoccupied. Arturo then does that, but discovers back in his room that he stole buttermilk rather than milk.
  • Camilla removes her slip from under her dress as she heads for the beach. Her dress then comes off and she enters the surf (at night) where we see various views of her full frontal and rear nudity. Arturo then joins her sans clothes and she says he has a pretty one (penis or butt -- we see both) that's as pink as a baby's bottom. We then see various views of her bare breasts, butt and pubic hair, while we see more full frontal views of him (some of the views are partially lit, others are in silhouette).
  • We see the silhouette of Arturo and Camilla having sex in the surf at night, with her saying, "Don't stop. Don't ever stop" (but we don't know if that really happened or is his writing).
  • A woman reads Arturo's writing that goes along the lines of "she pressed herself up against his throbbing loins."
  • Vera lies clothed on Arturo's bed.
  • A painting in the distance shows what looks like a woman's bare butt and cleavage, but it's too small and far away to tell.
  • Vera strips down in front of Arturo to show him bad scars on her legs (we see them as well as her bare butt).
  • Sammy tells Arturo (about Camilla) that she has a "hard mouth" (but it's never explained what he exactly means). He also says she's "one pony worth the ride."
  • Camilla and Arturo lie side by side on the bed clothed, head to toe (one facing one direction with the other's feet at their head) after she tells him, "Come here and I'll show you." She then tells him to take off his pants and then runs her hand up to her crotch (he sees everything, we don't). He asks why doesn't she take off her pants and she says she did, asking him (in a sultry voice) how it looks (presumably referring to her genitals). He says it's fine, causing her to get mad and say that he can't "f*ck or write." After she gets up, he grabs and throws her to the bed and starts to undress. She repeatedly yells for him to stop, but he keeps throwing her to the bed and then gets on top of her as if to forcibly have sex with her, but he can't go through with it.
  • Vera pushes Arturo to her bed and lies next to him (both are clothed).
  • Vera crawls up to Arturo and moves both hands to his clothed crotch. They passionately kiss, sex is implied and we see her in bed after that when he leaves.
  • Camilla shows some cleavage in her nightgown.
  • Camilla talks with Arturo, questioning that after everything that's happened, "You can't imagine sleeping with me anymore?" He says he can imagine, with her replying that what he imagines might be better than the real thing. She's then acting sultry and is all over him, telling him to come to bed. They passionately kiss in a chair and he then carries her to bed. Some undressing occurs and (in some partial lighting) we see his bare butt, her bare breasts, and a full view of him on top of her between her legs (with movement). There's heavy breathing, passionate kissing and she grabs his bare butt as there's lots of thrusting (we see a head and shoulders shot as well as a full side view shot in a rather lengthy sex scene).
  • SMOKING
  • Arturo smokes around 15 times (once with a cigar, sometimes we see lit cigarettes in an ashtray, and he rolls one), Camilla smokes a number of times and all sorts of miscellaneous or background characters smoke in various scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Vera says that her husband said she was deformed and disgusting (from bad scars on her legs).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The Depression.
  • Racism.
  • Trying to live the American dream.
  • A major character is sick and then dies of tuberculosis.
  • Writer's block.
  • Antagonistic love affairs.
  • We hear that Hellfrick was gassed in the great war (WWI) and that he's been "gassed" ever since (presumably meaning drunk).
  • About Camilla (and women in general), Sammy tells Arturo, "Never let them forget who's boss."
  • Vera says that her husband said she was deformed and disgusting (from bad scars on her legs).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Camilla tears up Arturo's book while mad at him.
  • While skinny-dipping in the rough surf at night, Camilla disappears, prompting Arturo to panic as he tries to find her, but she's just playing a joke on him and is fine. In response, he grabs her by the head, and pushes and throws her into the surf, prompting her to hit him.
  • Camilla and Arturo lie side by side on the bed clothed, but she eventually gets mad and says that he can't "f*ck or write." After she gets up, he grabs and throws her to the bed and starts to undress. She repeatedly yells for him to stop, but he keeps throwing her to the bed and then gets on top of her as if to forcibly have sex with her, but he can't go through with it.
  • There's an earthquake (seen outdoors) where property damage occurs, people are tossed about and a ripple in the ground is seen coming toward Arturo. We then see an arm (no blood) sticking up out of the rubble, meaning the person (a supporting character) is dead.



  • Reviewed February 6, 2006 / Posted March 24, 2006

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