Waiting for Forever: Miscalculated Amalgams of Quirky Innocence

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Waiting for Forever
Directed by James Keach
Freestyle Releasing
Opens February 4, AMC Empire 25

Did you hear the one about the young TV actress who rebuffs—then ultimately falls for—the emotionally stunted street performer who has been stalking her across the country since childhood? Strangely unaware of its overt creepiness, this unsettling puppy-dog romance from actor-turned-director James Keach (The Stars Fell on Henrietta) and writer Steve Adams (Envy) stars Rachel Bilson as the ingénue, with Tom Sturridge as the free spirit (read: homeless dude) who has pined for her since, well, forever. Dressed in a bowler hat and vest over pajamas, Sturridge’s orphaned juggler is a miscalculated amalgam of quirky innocence—Johnny Depp’s vaudevillean flair from Benny & Joon paired with the pushover chivalry of Pretty in Pink’s Duckie—who comes off as a punchably self-indulgent sponger who needs to grow a pair, get a job, and stop reminiscing about being a kid. When Bilson returns home to Anytown, USA, to be with her cancer-ridden father (Richard Jenkins) and daffy mother (Blythe Danner), You-Know-Who follows, their non-relationship further complicated by the arrival of her bad-boy beau. Dreamy flashbacks, third-act self-realizations, and melodramatic plot devices ensue (Dad’s already dying, so why not add an accidental murder?), with a nostalgic tone less heartfelt than Hipstamatic’s retro camera filters.

 
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