There is a love story for every type of person. Some women might run away and call the cops if a man kidnapped them and forced them to be a fake wife to appease his parents. Layla, the female lead and ofttime punching bag character in Buffalo ‘66, certainly isn’t like most women. After Billy Brown is released from jail, he forces Layla into his life of turmoil, but finds out that if he lets her into the bathtub with him sometimes, maybe the love he’s always needed will be right there waiting for him.
After a five year stint in prison for a crime he did not commit, Billy Brown is released back out into the world. Billy must now go see his parents who have no idea he has been in prison the entire time. After being released from jail, Billy has to go to the bathroom. After a few failed attempts, he finally finds a bathroom in a little dance studio, but is unable to go due to the man staring from the urinal next to his. Billy gives up on that plan and decides to call his parents to let them know he is coming for a visit. While lying to his parents about his wife he does not have, Billy decides to kidnap one of the tap dancers named Layla and force her to go to his parents house with him and pretend they are a couple. Per usual, Billy's parents ignore him. His mom is more interested in watching the Buffalo Bills play football and his dad is more interested in Layla’s buxom upper half. His parents only warm up to him when Layla tells them she is pregnant (which she most certainly is not). While at his parents, Billy calls his old friend Goon to find out where the kicker from the Buffalo Bills hangs out nowadays. Billy blames the kicker for being paid off to miss the kick to lose the game to cause Billy to lose money he did not have which forced him to take the rap for a crime he didn’t commit in order not to be killed by the gangster he placed the bet with. Billy finds the kicker at a strip club – also owned by the kicker. Billy thinks about shooting him, but before he does, realizes that Layla isn’t so bad after all and she sure is a lot better than jail for murder. Billy buys a heart shape cookie and returns to Layla to give love a try.
Billy Brown is a wounded animal with parents that stunted his emotional growth since birth. He can’t seem to tell his parents the truth about going to jail in fear of disappointing them, but when he arrives at their house, it seems as though they barely remember he exists at all. His father answers the door only to walk away immediately yelling at his wife, “Your son is here." His mother’s biggest regret in life is going into labor with Billy instead of being able to watch Buffalo’s only Super Bowl win. When Layla asks Billy’s parents about his childhood, Billy’s mom pulls out the “Billy picture," the one single image of Billy they kept from his childhood. It’s a wonder that Billy has made it this far in life without going off the rails completely.
The list of supporting actors that dot the world of Buffalo ‘66 is staggering. Ben Gazzara, a legend of 70’s cinema, is exquisite as the creepy father figure, the man that "shaped" Billy Brown. Mickey Rourke is the bookie that convinces Billy that it is in Billy’s best interest to plead guilty to a crime rather than face the wrath that comes from not being able to pay off his debt. Angelica Huston plays Billy’s mom, one of the nastiest most uncaring mothers in cinema history. Jan-Michael Vincent, best known as helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke in the TV series Airwolf, shows up as the bowling manager who has been friends with Billy since Billy was a child winning bowling trophies. While uncredited at his own request, Kevin Corrigan plays Goon, Billy’s one and only friend from his youth who still lives with his mother and wears tidy whities, to perfection. Certainly Christina Ricci gets the most credit for playing the sidekick that can even love a man like Billy. Previously known for her roles in Casper and The Addams Family as the adorable little girl, Buffalo ‘66 gave Christina one of her first adult roles.
Trailer Credit: Lions Gate