By Mark Ramsey | 2001/04/29

From Franchise Pictures – a company whose very name shouts unbridled wishful thinking – comes Driven, the latest Sylvester Stallone vehicle. Although you wouldn’t know Sly is within a hundred laps of this movie judging by the TV spots which feature only his eyes – and those could be any fading superstar’s surgically enhanced eyes, after all.

Racing is the name of the game here, and that game is punctuated by frequent cleavage shots, various gratuitous Hawaiian Tropic poses, numerous short shorts, and occasional spurts of seductive hot dog eating. God bless America!

According to the opening credits, racing has 900 million fans, including sixteen people who forgot to wear their race-driver t-shirts and one deeply confused, genuine Black guy.

domesticdisturbance_phone.jpgIt worries me to see a crowd of tens of thousands of pumped up White people screaming and hollering. Better lock up the Wal*Mart in case of looters! Evolution Question of the day: Which one of you owns the missing link between a Chevy truck and a Ford truck? If anybody finds a vehicle in the lot without a flat-bed, shoot it! Shoot it dead!

There’s lots of race commentator narration in this movie which really helps you know what the Hell is going on in case curiosity gets the better of your common sense. Man, do these annoying commentators sound like Access Hollywood on cocaine – or should I say more cocaine?

Watching Sly squeeze his Johnny Bravo frame into that little race car is a scream. That guy’s one Subway sandwich away from a seamless fit and lifetime four-wheel drive. Isn’t the toy version of this called a “Transformer”? That tight fit explains the x-shaped dent in Sly’s head – it’s for the giant Phillips screwdriver that twists him into the seat!

Enter the impossibly hot Estella Warren, a trophy babe with a winner’s circle to die for, if you know what I’m saying. Estella lane-changes from driver to driver with nary a pit-stop. She looks so unreal she should be in a glass case with a 24-hour guard. Besides being a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Estella’s also a three-time Canadian national champion in synchronized swimming. Here, she mostly synchronizes her top pouty lip with her bottom one to championship effect.

You can’t help but be sympathetic for old Sly – mostly because he’s written himself a role as an aloof yet sympathetic bum. Babes love aloof, sympathetic bums, at least the babes Sly writes. From Rambo to Hambo to Slambo, baby.

driven_transformer.jpgBurt Reynolds is on board here with a new yak-hair hood ornament and rosy-wrinkled crypt-keeper complexion. In his wheelchair, Burt looks like he’s only a couple years away from having a light on his chest that glows once for “yes” and twice for “no.”

My favorite scene comes when hormones overflow and the drivers ditch their fancy cocktail party, jump into their little racing cars (coincidentally parked nearby), and tear through the streets of Chicago threading in and out of traffic. Hey, where’s Chicago’s Finest during all this anyway? At an Oprah taping?

Wow, is there a lot of logo clutter on these cars and drivers in their little red jumpsuits! And it even extends to the spectators. When Sly’s race car zips by one chick on a Chicago street, up flies her skirt revealing a clip-and-save 20% off coupon for Get Carter at! Now that’s marketing!

I love it when a CGI tire blows off a car and shoots straight up into the air at the camera and then careens back to the ground. Now there’s a shot I’ve only seen a thousand times. So many phony digital cars and manhole covers are flying at the camera I should have brought my 3-D glasses and a racquet.

To show off his stuff, Sly takes the wheel and zips along, flipping quarters onto the track. With each lap, he picks up a quarter on his rear tire.

At that rate, he’ll out-gross Driven in less than 500 laps!

Photos Copyright ©2001 Warner Brothers


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