Neil Mandt's Last Stop for Paul
Writer-director Neil Mandt is Charlie, and cinematographer Marc Carter is Cliff, his companion on a round-the-world trip. Their goal is to honor the wishes of a dead friend, Paul, by leaving spoonfuls of his ashes in Jamaica, Chile, Greece, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Along the way, they swap travel yarns with fellow nomads, and thus we get glimpses of Russia, Egypt, and England, too. Crisply shot on a lightweight camcorder, Last Stop for Paul leaves the prevailing impression of an amiable, homespun travelogue done in the style of Bruce Brown's Endless Summer. The adventures are all pretty mild, but have in their favor that they feel authentic: Cliff is robbed by a pair of sexy bar girls; Charlie and Cliff get arrested in Vietnam; two Irish guys they meet in Chile nearly steer them off a hairpin turn in the Andes. The results are so lightweight that it would be hard to justify paying 10 bucks for a ticket. Yet despite this considerable defect, the film is charming; Mandt directs and acts with great zest and a contagious, unpretentious good cheer.
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