Monday, July 6, 2009

WENDY AND LUCY (now playing at home where you're eating on paper plates because you're too lazy to wash the dishes)

Michelle Williams stars in this low budget indie film about a young girl (Williams) and her dog, Lucy, (Lucy) who get sidetracked in a small Oregon town on their road trip from Indiana to Alaska.

Wendy's apparently rootless, and thinks she'll be able to find lucrative work in the "new frontier." But she's on a tight budget, and gets busted trying to shoplift some dog food. With Lucy tied up outside the front of the store, Wendy gets hauled off to the pokey. When she returns, Lucy has disappeared. Then, Wendy's car breaks down, and the bill to fix it is astronomical. The rest of the film follows Wendy around in her frustrating efforts to get her vehicle repaired and to reunite with Lucy. Walter Dalton does a nice job as an old dude security guard who tries to assist Wendy in whatever way he can.

Wendy and Lucy was developed from a short story, and it FEELS like a postmodern short story--with no real plot and an ending with no resolution. Ostensibly, it's a character study, but we learn next to nothing about Wendy's character or motivation--except that she's not very personable--she responds to everyone in a perfunctory sort of way, (is this a hallmark of the current 20-something generation?) and has really bad judgement, as
evidenced by her decision to embark upon a long and clouded journey with finances that would leave her no margin for error. The only glimpse we get into her past is a phone call to whatever semblance of a family she has back in Indiana--and they are just as vapid as she is.

The one thing I did like about Wendy and Lucy is when Wendy wanders upon a homeless camp, the people she encounters there don't have the gleaming, perfect looking ACTORS' TEETH--a pervasive oversight that ruins the authenticity of just about every movie where such types are portrayed. You've got these unshaven, unshowered, grimy looking homeless dudes-- and when they open their mouths, there's a small fortune of cosmetic dental work inside there! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HOLLYWOOD, ANYWAY? Is it just that they're so disconnected from reality that they don't remember how real people look anymore? Geez, it's easy enough to apply some of that black stuff on there so that you've got a realistic looking toothless person.
Give Wendy and Lucy kudos for being low budget enough to be using real people that obviously didn't require any alteration.

Wendy does truly SEEM to care about her canine companion, and there's some poignancy in the hopes rising-hopes falling aspect of her search for Lucy--but overall, there isn't enough here to sustain you through a jumbo size popcorn, large Coke, and box of Milk Duds. Most of us just expect more out of a feature length film.