Review

'Americons,' about predatory lending, piles on the filler

Predatory mortgages drive the plot of 'Americons.' Provocative milieu, but the tale is underwritten

"Americons" aims to expose predatory mortgage lenders the way "The Wolf of Wall Street" did pump-and-dump stockbrokers.

Former football player Jason (Beau Williams, who also penned the screenplay) works as a nightclub bouncer to make ends meet until patron Devin (Matt Funke) recruits him at the end of a somewhat rough night to sell mortgages.

Devin promises Jason that he'll become a millionaire within a year, and Devin wastes no time in giving a taste of the good life with travel in a private jet and fancy car, tickets to the game, tailored suits, drugs and more. Jason then signs up close friend and former teammate Theo (Trai Byers) for a loan, unwittingly selling him down the river.

The subject matter could have been fascinating if the film weren't underwritten. Williams tries to build an entire movie around just a few key scenes and lots of filler. His acting doesn't fill in the blanks.

Director Theo Avgerinos seems preoccupied with making the film look expensive, but no amount of flair could make it less vacuous. The film has more slow-motion montages than plot or dialogue. It wouldn't have taken Martin Scorsese to realize that these montages could use voice-over narration to explain the inner workings of the lending scheme or the protagonist's moral quandary.

------------

"Americons"

MPAA rating: R for language, drug use, sexuality.

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Playing: AMC Burbank 16; AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19; AMC Rolling Hills 20, Torrance.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
51°