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The Kids Are Annoying: Overwritten, Over-Angsty Daydream Nation

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Daydream Nation
Directed by Michael Goldbach
Anchor Bay Films
Opens May 6, Village East

Writer-director Michael Goldbach’s Daydream Nation opens with a close-up on the lush, full lips of actress Kat Dennings, whose 17-year-old Lolita-esque character Caroline reclines languidly in bed. We’re immediately dropped into Caroline’s world and head via her voiceover, and the voice is immediately familiar. It’s studded with alterna-cool cultural references, world-weary cynicism and sarcasm, and an omniscience that allows for snippy summation of everyone and everything on-screen. “There’s more incest here than in an Atom Egoyan film,” quips Caroline at one point. To escape the doldrums of her small town, Caroline launches a love triangle with her thirtysomething English teacher (Josh Lucas, sexy even as his character becomes increasingly off-putting) and the stoner peer (Reece Thompson) whose awkwardness and hyper-emotionality lead her to snipe about his lack of manhood. As the trio become increasingly unhinged, a serial killer targets pretty teen girls, an industrial fire on the edge of town burns out of control, and ghosts of dead teens wander into frame. Daydream is decently acted, overwritten, slickly shot, decked out with the requisite indie soundtrack, and propped up with angst-ridden poses and pouting lips. It’s also another film in which on-screen teens, especially the nubile femme fatale at the center, are but vessels to showcase the screenwriter’s irony-drenched, self-satisfied intellect.

 
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2 comments
Erin_Garrison
Erin_Garrison

I just watched this movie on DVD and really liked it. Didn't find it annoying at all. Thought it was a diamond in the rough, especially for the high school genre. I wouldn't listen to this reviewer if a) you're a fan of high school movies that are left of center or b) you like Kat Dennings. Beautiful little movie. PS. Not sure the age of the reviewer but I would take that into account.

Guest
Guest

Just watched the DVD. Perfect review. You nailed it.

 

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