‘Destiny’ Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Celluloid Parts

FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 1995

“Destiny Turns on the Radio”

Location: North Division, Lincoln Heights and Showboat cinemas

Credits: Directed by Jack Baran, starring Dylan McDermott, James LeGros, Nancy Travis, Quentin Tarantino, James Belushi, Bobcat Goldthwait, Alan Garfield, David Cross

Running time: 103

Rating: R

It’s probably not a good sign when the highlight of a film is Louie Prima and Keely Smith singing “That Old Black Magic” during the closing credits. Unfortunately, that’s not the only bad sign hanging off this enigmatic but far from mystical flick.

“Destiny Turns on the Radio” suffers from a case of having way too many ingredients and no cookbook on hand. Though the ads wisely tout the fact that hot-hot-hot Quentin Tarantino “stars” in this film, it appears doubtful that it is destined to be seen by many “Pulp Fiction” fans.

Part comedy, part fantasy and part love story, “Destiny” seems overly focused on not letting itself be pigeonholed.

But “Destiny” mostly suffers from an epidemic of one-dimensional characters.

The eclectic cast is a likable one, even if the casting itself seems a bit out of sync. Dylan McDermott plays Julian, a prison escapee who returns to Las Vegas, “the town of limitless possibilities,” to retrieve his money, his girl Lucille (Nancy Travis) and any car he can steal. But Johnny Destiny (Tarantino) plays his powerful hand and things don’t go exactly as planned.

First of all, Lucille is shacked up with Tuerto (James Belushi), a crotch-grabbing casino owner who thinks he’s tough but is only obnoxious. Then there’s the money, which according to Julian’s partner and best friend, Thoreau (James LeGros), was stolen the night of their heist by none other than Mr. Destiny, who apparently is some Vegas spirit who knows everything and everyone.

There are several catchy lines, a couple of genuine laughs and a scattered touch of subtlety here and there.

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