Barefoot: A Reckless Bad Boy Meets a Laboriously Unique Ingenue
Scott Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood in Barefoot.
Photo by Bart Singer - © 2013 - Barefoot Pictures, LLC
This ill-advised tale of amour fou introduces reckless bad boy Jay (Scott Speedman) to the laboriously unique Daisy (Evan Rachel Wood), a patient at the mental hospital where he's a janitor.
It goes without saying that Daisy is all wide-eyed unsophistication, the kind of ingenue whose apparent mental illness is treated as an endearing quirk rather than something worth serious consideration — she may well be the apotheosis of Nathan Rabin's manic pixie dream girl.
"Why are you wearing those shoes?" the footwear-averse naïf asks a stripper in one of approximately 249 instances of adorable idiosyncrasy; Jay, needing a date to his brother's wedding (which he's only attending in order to hit up his estranged father for money so he can pay down his gambling debts), decides to bring Daisy along without making her fully aware of the ruse she's helping him perpetrate.
That she would appear to have the mental capacity of a child is apparently no impediment to the icky romance this is clearly hurtling toward, as she's something like an angel sent from on high to teach Jay some important lessons about love and life.
Every time her inexperience with social situations verges into cringe comedy, someone responds to her fresh-faced innocence in just the right way and saves the moment. It's a contrivance Andrew Fleming's film falls back on repeatedly and to increasingly diminishing returns.
The gradual revelation that there's more to Daisy than meets the eye is no great surprise, but it does at least negate — too late! — some of the more troubling subtext.
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