David Duchovny hikes around the Tucson desert with his pet goats as the aptly named Goat Man in Goats, the Californication star sporting a long beard and matching hair in what appears to be an effort to hide his identity, lest he be permanently associated with this toothless indie. Duchovny’s pot-smoking landscaper/pool boy/goat trekker works at the home of Ellis (Graham Phillips), a 15-year-old who upsets new age-y mom Wendy (Vera Farmiga) when he decides to enroll at the East Coast prep school attended by his father, Frank (Ty Burrell), who’s now remarried to pregnant Judy (Keri Russell). Ellis’s year-long coming-of-age experiences moving between school, Arizona, and Frank’s D.C. house involve a drunken fight with his college-obsessed roommate, spats with detached dad, and flirting with an older beauty (Dakota Johnson), all of which are as lamely quirky as Goat Man’s escapades crossing the Mexican border to buy drugs or wooing a teen sexpot (Adelaide Kane). Incapable of energizing Mark Poirier’s leaden script (based on his own novel), Christopher Neil directs with a mechanical blandness made more tedious still by a score of gentle guitar strumming so aggravatingly benign it might inspire you to partake in one of Wendy’s climactic, cathartic primal screams.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 8, 2012