Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: Uncorked Productions
Director: Bryan Reisberg
Review Rating: 7
Craig has the world at his feet, an adoring girlfriend, a new job waiting for him and a new place to move to, so now would be the perfect time to lie to everyone and take a lone trip to the south!
I like Harry Lloyd, I do. He did a perfectly serviceable job for the role of Craig in the film, all awkward charm and wide-eyed wonder at rediscovering things. The trouble isn’t with the actor, it’s with the role itself, and frankly the film too. The premise is just fine too, we the audience fully expect Craig to, at some point, explain to someone he finally made some sort of connection with, why the hell he’s on this spur-of-the-moment road trip. Well…
So Craig is going along in his car, off in the heartlands of America, on his way to Virginia for some odd reason, trying very hard to connect with his estranged brother via phone to arrange for them to meetup when Craig gets there. See the worlds largest man-made lightup star, or some such thing. But along the way, Craig has to stop and admire the worlds largest oak bucket, the States’ largest rocking chair by buying a smaller version of it, make friends with some underage drinkers, and even attempt to romantically connect with a lonely singer gal originally from Finland. Craig listens to some former friend of his on the radio, one of those late-late talk show romance guru types, who does less about helping random folk with their romantic troubles and more about exploitation of the downtrodden for the amusement of others. Craig drives along, calling his girlfriend to check on her house-hunting progress in San Francisco, apparently becoming more and more disenfranchised with the whole idea of moving in with her and her overbearing father. It all culminates at a drunken party where he and Finland girl come very close to hooking up, only to have Craig literally run away and hide in his well-used car. Stricken with remorse, Craig finally calls up the romance talk show while driving, to sobbingly confess his almost-hookup and remonstrate himself for being not-that-way in the first place. Run away once again in the car, and the last thing we see is Craig under the giant lightup star in Virginia, alone.
I fail to understand this. It wasn’t a spiritual journey, or one of self discovery, or even a trip where Craig did a whole lot to be ashamed and repentant of. Sure, buying alcohol for minors is a no-no, and the almost-hookup with the Finland girl would have been a mistake, but it’s not as though the world is going to end tomorrow because of it. Craig never confessed to anyone that he was ill and dying, or explained that he was running away from his girlfriend and real-life responsibilities pressing down on him, there wasn’t a single dramatic or even semi-plausible reason for the road trip. Craig seemed inexorably lonely and tried to make some sort of connection with every person he met, whether it was the good-ole-boy motel manager or the fifteen-year-old girls who mistook him for gay, and was met with varying success. Perhaps he thought visiting the roadside attractions of Americas heartlands and attempting to connect with strangers would prepare him for whatever he’d find in San Francisco, I simply couldn’t tell. And the abrupt without-explanation ending, presented in a would-be existential light (literally) just annoyed me.