Daredevil buddies push each other to increasingly dangerous stunts (1:30). PG-13: Don’t try this at home. Area theaters.
Even the most responsible adults often wish they could spend every moment doing whatever they want. The goofball daredevils of Nitro Circus have actually achieved that elusive goal, and what they want is this: to behave like 10-year-old boys blessed with unlimited wealth.
Their self-made, 3D action flick allows us to tag along as they fly around the country doing stunts no mother would ever allow. And when American law proves similarly restrictive, they head for Panama, to jump between skyscrapers or speed a motorcycle across a hotel pool into the ocean.
Even if you appreciate the sight of grown men acting like idiots, the film’s repetitive pacing and self-congratulatory air start to feel exhausting. It’s a relief not to be pummeled with the gross-out extremes of the similar “Jackass” crew, but this band of adrenaline addicts desperately needs a puckish ringleader like Johnny Knoxville.
If you’re going to keep throwing your life on the line, you’ve got to give us a reason to care.
MEET THE FOKKENS — 3 stars
Daredevil Jolene Van Vugt in ‘Nitro Circus: The Movie’
Biography of elderly prostitutes in Amsterdam (1:20). Not rated: Sexuality, graphic nudity. At Film Forum. In Dutch with subtitles.
Credit Rob Schroder and Gabrielle Provaa for finding the Fokkens. And even for providing a thoroughly engaging introduction. But what we really want is to get to know them. Instead, the film too-aptly reflects life in their line of work: brief interludes rather than intimate soul-baring.
That’s a shame, since there can’t be that many 70-year-old identical twin prostitutes with a 50-year history in the business.
Actually, Louise has recently retired due to arthritis (“I couldn’t get one leg over the other”). But Martine is still going strong, donning her sexiest red dress to entice customers walking through Amsterdam’s red light district.
The filmmakers follow the sisters around town, creating a delightful portrait of good-natured extroverts. But Schroder and Provaa don’t dig much deeper, which is especially frustrating given their rich subject matter.
One of the sisters wears a Jewish star; the other meets regularly with evangelists. One was pushed into prostitution; how did the other get there? And surely it’s worth asking what their childhood was like.
There is brief talk of violence and cruelty, but it’s quickly brushed aside. Both the sisters and their chroniclers would rather emphasize the positive: their friends, their hobbies, their bond with each other. It’s understandable that the Fokkens prefer to focus on the future, but one suspects that their inimitable strength has its roots in the past.
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