Ray Ruby (Willem Dafoe) is the manager and host of Ray Ruby's Paradise, a New York strip club. He likes to think of it as his little Garden of Eden filled with the most beautiful and sexy women in the world. But things are not going well for this amateur singer and entrepreneur with a gambling addiction. His accountant, Jay (Roy Dotrice), informs him that they are short of cash and can't pay anyone. To make matters worse, the landlady, Lillian (Sylvia Miles), is hounding Ray for four months' back rent and is threatening to sell the space to Bed Bath & Beyond. The pole dancers are getting restless, and Ray's brother Johnie (Matthew Modine), a hairdresser from Staten Island who provides the cash to keep the place going, has decided to "pull the plug," as he puts it.
Abel Ferrera directs this comedy with a focus on Ray Ruby's inimitable optimism. He believes that everything will turn out okay and has hedged his bets by purchasing a massive amount of tickets for the $18 million lottery. Even his closest associates, including Bob Hoskins as the club maitre d', are quite amazed at his ability to put a positive spin on every setback. But in this story at least, such an attitude leads to good things from Lady Luck, who smiles on those who are grateful for their little slice of paradise.
Screening at the 45th New York Film Festival, October 2007.
Screened at the 45th New York Film Festival, October 2007.