Director: Kevin Asch
Writer: Antonio Macia
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Ari Gaynor and Q-Tip
Release Date: 05/21/2010

Sam Gold is offered the deal of a lifetime. If he plays courier for some special packages, he’ll make serious coin. What’s in the packages? “Medicine,” Sam is told, for very important clients. So important are these customers, in fact, that Sam won’t courier them from one New York borough to another; he’s got to move the product all the way from Amsterdam.

During a six-month period from 1998-99, a group of young, Hasidic Jews were employed by a criminal enterprise to act as drug mules. They brought over one million Ecstacy tablets into the United States, before they were arrested and jailed. It was the stuff of true crime novels and bad crime shows for a bit. Hell, they even managed to sneak a few Hasidic Jews into The Sopranos. The whole progression of the movie had a very organic flow to it, which made everything that happened seem believable and not laugh out loud. The religious aspect was portrayed in a very authentic and non stereotypical way. So, when did Yentl become so badass?

Sam’s experiences follow a much trodden path, taking in the inevitable but mercifully brief ecstasy club scene, family disapproval, a showdown with his father, a love story, and a well-handled if predictable redemption, all so familiar that Holy Rollers could easily have been a derivative and pointless movie. However, snappy dialogue and a galloping pace just about make up for it, and provide a framework for Jesse Eisenberg’s great interpretation of the wayward, immature but essentially good person.

The film is very split among some definine lines. Jesse Eisenberg continues to make a name for himself by carrying this film on his back. Co-stars Ari Gaynor and Justin Bartha have done better, but they hold up in the thankless of role of supporting bananas. I can’t speak to the level of detail regarding the Hasidic Jewish community. But, it’d make a nice rental in the future. I can’t say that I recommend making a trip to the arthouse theater.


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