Mercer White (Lou Taylor Pucci) is nineteen and living in Eugene, Oregon when his mother dies of cancer. Naive and optimistic, he decides to find his older half-brother Arlen (Jsu Garcia), whom he hasn't seen in fourteen years and who doesn't know his mother has died. Stealing a Volvo station wagon from a carwash, Mercer hits the road, but before long the cell phone left in the car rings. The phone belongs to Kate (Zooey Deschanel), the car's owner. Surprisingly, she doesn't threaten to call the police, but instead is curious about Mercer and his motives. Eventually she agrees to let him take her car on his quest, and their phone conversation becomes a screen flirtation through which the two develop an unusual bond, although Kate is not seen for awhile.
From this point on, Mercer's journey takes some strange twists and turns. At a coastal art commune he's assaulted by a fellow from whom Arlen stole a set of tools. In Fallon, Nevada he's seduced by the sluttish Joely (Jena Malone), a former middle school classmate who plies him with Ecstasy. In nearby Reno, he steals a video camera from a porn director named Sergio Leone (Julio Oscar Mechoso), and in turn, he has the Volvo stolen. In Mojave, California he recovers the Volvo with the aid of a liquor salesman. And in Sacramento, Kate, envious of his experiences, unexpectedly joins him. Finally, Mercer finds Arlen in Ensenada, Mexico, where the reunion is disappointing, but where romance with Kate unexpectedly blossoms.
Written and directed by Martin Hynes, this road trip film is made unique by the vast possibilities of the open road, the opportunities for personal growth, the drama of the search for Arlen, and the romance with Kate. While Maura Tierneyand Judy Greer are good in supporting roles, this is clearly an independent production, with bleached-out cinematography and low-budget sets, costumes and soundtrack. If you enjoyed Zooey Deschanel in All the Real Girls, you might give this one a try.
Labels: comedy, drama
Internet Movie Database
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=55, viewers=70)