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For 'Down,' there's nowhere to go but up

April 11, 2003|Kevin Thomas | Times Staff Writer

Teen sex comedies don't come more mindless than Joseph A. Pineda's "Going Down," a movie so seriously underinspired it's hard to imagine it appealing to anyone but fantasy-prone middle schoolers who can barely wait to live it up like their older brothers and sisters.

The plot couldn't be more elementary. It's the morning after ordinary guy Jack Earnest (Jay Michael Ferguson) and his party-animal pal Travis (Joshua Blake) have tossed a wild party for Jack's 18th birthday. The Earnest residence, in an upscale suburban L.A. tract, is a mess, with scattered revelers still passed out, one of whom appears to be dead and another one wandering around in a stupor. The phone rings. It's Jack's no-nonsense mother (Rachel Carson), explaining that Jack's father (Ed Begley Jr.) has injured his knee skiing and, having cut short their vacation, they will be landing at LAX in three hours.

Jack is understandably panicked; Travis remains oblivious; and Pineda piles on the disaster with an increasing lack of imagination. The guys' girlfriends turn up, miffed at having been left out of the blast but eager for sex; Jack's playboy uncle sends over a hooker as a birthday present; and the gay boyfriend of the guy who seemingly has turned into a corpse shows up looking for him. There's lots more of this, but none of it is very funny, and no one within camera range gives any evidence of having had an actual thought pass through his or her head. The title of this film was surely meant to be suggestive, but it turns out to be a perfect description of the picture's trajectory.


'Going Down'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Language, crude sexual humor, some nudity, substance abuse

Jay Michael Ferguson...Jack

Joshua Blake...Travis

Hope Riley...Laurie

Christine Lakin...Jamie

A Paia Pictures presentation. Director Joseph A. Pineda. Producer-executive producer Bill Ferguson. Screenplay Joey Velazquez, Wade Warren. Cinematographers Olivier Donohue, Kevin Murphy. Editors Yoshio Kohashi, Vince LeGrow, Linsday Quon, Frank Reynolds. Music Jeff Cardoni. Costumes Charlotte McCrimmon. Production designer Christian Flaherty. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

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