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2 Days in the Valley

Director/Writer:John Herzfeld
Director of Photography:Oliver Wood
Editors:Jim Miller and Wayne Wahrman
Music:Anthony Marinelli
Production Designer:Catherine Hardwicke
Producers: Jeff Wald and Herb Nanas
Rysher Entertainment/MGM Credit Lyonnais; R; 105 minutes
Release:9/96
Cast:Danny Aiello, Greg Cruttwell, James Spader, Teri Hatcher, Charlize Theron, Jeff Daniels, Eric Stoltz, Glenne Headly, Paul Mazursky, Louise Fletcher, Marsha Mason, Keith Carradine, Peter Horton and Austin Pendleton

With its four intersecting stories, 2 Days in the Valley falls somewhere between Short Cuts and Pulp Fiction, though it lacks the cutting-edge hipness of both. But the quirky film works as a comic film noir and offers up endearing characters. Ultra-cool Lee Woods (Spader) hires hitman Dosmo Pizzo (Aiello) to kill Roy Fox (Horton) in a complicated insurance scam. At the time of the murder, two vice cops (Daniels and Stoltz), who want to move to homicide, bungle a massage-parlor bust. Obnoxious, twitty art dealer Alan Hopper (Cruttwell) gets his comeuppance when he suffers a kidney stone attack in the middle of a street. Pizzo ends up holding Hopper and his secretary (Headly) hostage and cooks them a sumptuous pasta dish. The last vignette features a down-and-out writer and director (Mazursky), who puts his suicide on hold until he can find someone to care for his dog. While contemplating his dog's future, he meets a nurse (Fletcher), who volunteers her brother, Alan Hopper, to adopt the beloved dog. Aiello loads the film with laughs and emerges as the scene stealer.