Eenie Meenie Miney Moe may have a micro budget, but it possesses a swagger and authenticity that elevates it to a level of the big boys.
It’s a fairly standard story of young men (and women) who have been travelling down the wrong path and their efforts to make things right and “go straight,” but the confidence behind the camera and the acting in front of it create a wholly believable tale that demonstrate the lure of the lifestyle and the ugly truth beneath its veneer.
Set in the sun-kissed, sin-soaked city of Miami, we follow Raul (Andres Dominguez), a tow-truck driver who truly lifts cars when he lifts his cars: drugs, money, guns, whatever can be found in the crevices within. The body is then sent to the chop shop for even more cash. Also orbiting in this universe are Marco (David Lago), a concierge by day who hustles drugs by night, and Vlad (played by the wonderful J. Bishop, who also co-wrote the film), a valet who desperately wants to be a “made” man by the Russian Mafia.
It’s easy to see what draws them: tanned, toned bodies, pastel-drenched parties, designer drugs, throbbing bass beats on every corner — Miami is like a non-stop music video where excess is just a starting point.
Their lives all intersect, cross (and double-cross), rise and fall. And even though life is a party for many of them, there’s inevitably going to be a mess to clean up.
But director Jokes Yanes (here listed only as “Jokes”) makes it such a lovely mess. At times, he may be a little too reliant on the slow-mo shots, but he splashes the film with a seductive glow that makes it easy to see what lured these young men and women to pursue the lifestyle they chose. He is helped by an overall strong cast with relative newcomers who exude a naturalness in front of the camera that suggests they may be quite familiar with the roles in which they play.
But the film’s standout is the Vin-Diesel-voiced Bishop as the dimbulb Vlad. Dangerous because he’s not above lying about anything to boost his cred, Bishop not only has some of the film’s choicest lines (“Know who I’m with? The Russians. You know what they invented? The AK-47 and the Monorail. You gonna mess with somebody who invented the monorail!?”), but he’s also most charismatic of the bunch, which is an achievement in this strong sea of talent.
In the opening scene, Raul is seen rolling down the street with his buddy (played by reggae royalty Ky Mani Marley) who says, “Do you know what I like about Miami? Everyone is dirty!”
And while that may prove to be true through the remainder of the film, Eenie Meenie Miney Moe is polished to a shine.
Review by Film Critic, Rob Rector