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Movie review: 'Oconomowoc' in need of direction like its lead

Writer-director Andy Gillies' underachiever alternates between the pointless and the elliptical as the film sputters out its story of a twentysomething guy who returns to his hometown without a life plan.

April 18, 2013|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from "Oconomowoc."
A scene from "Oconomowoc." (Handout )

Ironically, the only thing that makes much sense about the DIY effort "Oconomowoc" is its baffling title. Too bad it takes until the closing credits to learn that moniker simply refers to the Wisconsin berg where the film was shot. But that's how this would-be comedy rolls.

Writer-director Andy Gillies' shaggy underachiever alternates between the pointless and the elliptical as the movie sputters out its nominal story of Lonnie Washington (Brendan Marshall-Rashid), a 29-year-old man-child who returns to his hometown without a life plan or, it seems, much of a personality.

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Lonnie is surrounded by eccentrics, of course, including a needy stepfather (Andrew Rozanski) one year his senior, an impulsive friend (Gillies) with a half-baked T-shirt business, a tippling mother (Deborah Clifton), and a brash pharmacy worker and potential squeeze (Cindy Pinzon). These folks, along with the other locals Lonnie encounters on his fuzzy quest for direction, are mostly paper-thin concoctions; the spotty acting here certainly doesn't help flesh them out.

Mini-riffs about doughnuts, Patrick Swayze and other minutiae punctuate the decisively goofy action, with flashes of so-called gay panic and further bits of political incorrectness tossed in for good — or rather bad — measure. Then there's the whole polka dot bathrobe thing. Don't ask.

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"Oconomowoc." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes. At Laemmle's Music Hall, Beverly Hills.

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