Anyone seeking relief from the serious holiday films now leaving local theaters — or the supernatural teen romances coming to replace them — could do worse than first-time director Barry Battles' Slidell-shot The Baytown Outlaws. Obviously inspired by the films of Quentin Tarantino and the cheap 1970s exploitation movies Tarantino and his pals hold dear, The Baytown Outlaws is not for those easily offended by racial and gender stereotypes. In fact, Battles' vision of the South amounts to little more than a foul-mouthed parade of dim-witted rednecks and hookers. But to take this intentionally trashy stuff seriously would be to miss the point entirely.
The Baytown Outlaws' self-appointed task is to have a little fun at the expense of good taste and decorum without benefit of the Hollywood-sized budget that clearly wasn't available. It's hard to imagine how Battles got Billy Bob Thornton or Eva Longoria to appear in the movie, other than it must have been fun to make and didn't take much of their time.
It's best not to think too much about the story: A foster mom (Longoria) hires three murderous yet somehow warm-hearted brothers to retrieve a disabled teenager from her hilariously corrupt gangster ex-husband (Thornton), who only wants the boy for his trust fund. It's all an excuse to stage some occasionally imaginative mayhem and pay tribute to the drive-in movies of a now-distant era. What's wrong with that? — KEN KORMAN