Pups | EW.com

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PupsNo one has fully come to grips with the new teen violence — with the consciousness that breeds it. In Pups, the second feature ...PupsMystery and Thriller, DramaPT100MUnratedNo one has fully come to grips with the new teen violence — with the consciousness that breeds it. In Pups, the second feature ...2000-03-03Mischa BartonAllied Filmmakers
B+

Pups

Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: Cameron Van Hoy, Burt Reynolds, Mischa Barton; Director: Ash; Runtime (in minutes): 100; MPAA Rating: Unrated; Distributor: Allied Filmmakers

No one has fully come to grips with the new teen violence — with the consciousness that breeds it. In Pups, the second feature written and directed by the audacious Ash, Stevie (Cameron Van Hoy), a mouthy 13-year-old, finds a .44 Magnum in his mom’s bedroom and takes it into the streets of Los Angeles, where he spontaneously decides to rob a bank. He ends up with a half-dozen hostages, but we’re never sure if he’s playacting in his mind or an actual junior sociopath — or, indeed, if there is any longer much difference.

Like most Dog Day Afternoon knockoffs, Pups has a static element beneath its hot-wired surface. Ash, however, is a genuine provocateur-filmmaker. He gets an energized performance out of Burt Reynolds as the FBI negotiator who can’t decide whether to treat Stevie as an adult or as a brat who needs a spanking, and Van Hoy is amazing, like a Game Boy junkie-turned-virtual Jimmy Cagney. Pups, which had the bad luck to premiere at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival two days before the Columbine massacre, is now getting a nervous, spotty release. At, say, this year’s Sundance, it might have been a sensation.

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