Published Feb 02, 2012A new Canadian entry into the Napoleon Dynamite spurred cinenerd sweepstakes, Moon Point is a capital-Q, quirky movie with a shoestring budget. It's difficult to criticize an obvious labour of love such as this, but Moon Point goes so wrong in its execution that it feels oddly unfinished, or at least, ill-conceived.
Nick McKinlay stars as Darryl, a weedy, put-upon 20-something that has managed to avoid adulthood with relative ease, who, when forced to find a date to his cousin's wedding, takes it upon himself to seek out his long-lost, unrequited childhood love, Sarah Cherry (Kristen Gutoskie). Darryl hitches a ride with his wheelchair-bound best friend, Femur (Kyle Mac), whereupon Moon Point turns into an under-achieving version of The Straight Story, as the two pals traverse the Ontario backwoods, five miles an hour at a time.
It's an only-in-the-movies kind of scenario, especially when the pair pick up a stranded motorist named Kristin (Paula Brancati), who acts as both foil and babysitter. Moon Point starts off promisingly, with a series of tentatively connected comedy sketches and one-liners, but regrettably never embraces its framework of absurdity, getting bogged down in a frustratingly elementary storyline. For every inspired moment of comedy, however far-fetched, there are five or ten moments of bathos and patronizing life lessons.
Veteran Canadian character actors Jayne Eastwood, Art Hindle and Linda Kash all make appearances, contributing to the off-the-cuff moments and lending some much needed professionalism to this half-baked project. Moon Point is fun to watch, even inspired when it narrows its focus and concentrates on quickly paced comedy bits.
Particularly clever are the mini-flashbacks of Around Town with Sarah Cherry, the kids' show hosted by Darryl's pre-pubescent crush, which manages to say more in 30 seconds about his relationship difficulties and arrested development than the film's leaden and sentimental exposition in its latter half.
Pared down to a collection of one-liners and oddball comedy sketches, Moon Point is endearing and shows promise. Unfortunately the bulk of the film approaches disaster. (Indiecan)