It’s sometimes hard to remember there was a time when Tom Sizemore was considered one of America’s most promising actors. His sleepwalking performance in the abysmal Cellmates won’t trigger memories of that promise. The film, directed by Jesse Baget, aims to be a satiric look at racism but at every turn flaunts the laws of logic and believability. Sizemore plays Leroy Lowe, a member of the KKK who’s imprisoned at a prison work farm after the government cracks down on the Klan. Stacy Keach chews scenery as the warden. There are moments (most of the film, actually) when, even as Sizemore is yelling and flailing about, he looks as if he would rather be anyplace else. His garrulous cellmate Emilio is gifted with a Speedy Gonzales accent by actor Héctor Jiménez, and a questionable intellect by the script. Emilio still fares better than Madalena (Olga Segura), the comely Latina domestic who works at the prison and inexplicably falls for the racist Lowe. Will her love help turn him around? Shudder. As Emilio persists in forging a friendship with Lowe, and Madalena bats her big brown eyes at him, he is, of course, slowly transformed. It’s all grimly, predictably plotted without ever once being interesting.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2012