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The Dope Show 

Oliver Stone's drug movie doesn't pack much of a buzz

Sex. Drugs. Violence. How can you possibly go wrong? In Savages, director and co-writer Oliver Stone shows us some of the ways in which a good idea turns bad.

A Mexican drug cartel becomes interested in an extremely powerful brand of chronic distributed by a pair of California potheads. When they refuse to go into business with the mob, the head of the cartel (Salma Hayek) kidnaps the boys' shared girlfriend (Blake Lively), hoping to persuade them to change their minds. That's when things go bad.

Savages as a whole isn't awful; it's the details that sink it. For one thing, various plot twists are hinted at but never materialize. And there's no way ruthless drug lords would put up with Lively’s princess act. Plus, the movie takes forever to go anywhere and really only pops when a heartless thug played by Benicio Del Toro is onscreen. He's a welcome distraction from the poor writing and framing (Lively's character has rambling monologues that open and close the movie). Through it all, Savages tries hard to be something that it isn’t. --Julia Eberle

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