Dreamland Jason Matzner

Dreamland Jason Matzner
This uneasy combination of Russell Banks and The O.C. strains hard for seriousness but never gets past the attraction of its nubile young cast. Set in a desert trailer park called Dreamland, it charts the progress of 18-year-old Audrey (Agnes Bruckner), who is held back from college dreams by her best friend Calista (Kelli Garner), who has multiple sclerosis, and her father (John Corbett), who hasn’t left the park in the two years since the death of his wife.

Some intrigue develops when dreamy high-school basketballer Mookie (Justin Long) moves into the ’land and both girls fall for him, which is entirely fitting for a film that trades in young sexy people in various states of undress. Unfortunately, the film also trades in Tom Willet’s unspeakable TV dialogue that’s meant to be serious but only has you slapping your head at its florid inappropriateness.

Meanwhile, director Jason Matzner seems entirely oblivious that something is going on here beyond the surface pleasure; he’s all over the two girls, who are largely found in tight outfits or bathing suits when they’re not lounging naked with the lover of the moment. Pretty, yes, but he fails to find anything past the skin-deep point in both theme and sensibility, and after a while you want something other than the bland "follow your dreams” platitudes and empty calorie visuals.

In fact, the film strains to have anything happen at all — the set-up is obvious from the get-go and you sit waiting for our heroine to follow her dream, divest herself of the past and chuck these losers to get herself some college life. Voyeurs will be delighted, but anyone else is advised to keep looking. (Maple)