BAGDAD CAFÉ

(1987)
With Marianne Sägebrecht, CCH Pounder, Jack Palance, Christine Kaufmann, Darron Flagg
Directed by Percy Adlon
Reviewed by JL

Bagdad Cafe     Not many films begin as a bleak social satire and end as a joyous musical comedy, but Percy Adlon's delightful and quirky BAGDAD CAFÉ is such a film. A vacationing German couple is stranded in the Mojave Desert when their rental car breaks down; a nasty argument ensues, whereupon the wife, Jasmin (Marianne Sägebrecht), takes her luggage and sets off down the deserted road in high heels and "proper" dress.  Sweating and exhausted, she eventually comes upon the Bagdad Café, a fleabag motel-diner run by Brenda (CCH Pounder), a hot-tempered young black woman who also decided to ditch her lazy and slow-witted husband the same day. With nowhere to go and no resources, Jasmin takes up residence among the motel's colorful oddballs; she is lonely and withdrawn, Brenda is suspicious and hostile. Of course, they grow to become best friends, but getting there is half the fun. There's magic tricks, stage shows, and Jack Palance (as an aging hippie artist who falls in love with Jasmin) along the way. ½ - JL

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