Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Directed By: John Dahl
Rating: 3 out of 10
Three American road trippers head cross country but things get out of control when a prank goes terribly wrong.
At first glance at the title of this film I assumed this was going to be the story about the Swedish pop duo Roxette. In hind sight that probably would have been a better film. The quiet desolate highways of America stretch for thousands of miles in every direction. Every year hundreds of people simply vanish off the face of the earth from these remote locales and some American highways even have the dubious distinction of being haunted. So a film taking place mainly on these deserted and dark stretches of road has the setting down for a great thriller movie. This film maybe had the setting captured but that is about it. This film is proof positive that Hollywood golden boy J. J. Abrams is not Rumplestiltskin and cannot spin straw into gold. He produced and co wrote this mess of a film so it proves he is human. Director John Dahl coming off his last movie the brilliant film Rounders let this one flounder from about 15 minutes onward. The film is about three people on a road trip heading cross country with their final destination being New Jersey. Casting is the major flaw in this film. The two male leads the brothers Lewis and Fuller Thomas played by Paul Walker and Steve Zahn respectively were just an awful pairing. They were not convincing in any way on the dramatic side and when that happens the movie just crumbles all around it. The film has an easy feel and start with Lewis driving cross country. It is sort of a teenager vibe to the storyline but still works with this type of movie. With the introduction of Fuller this film rapidly descends into pure idiocy. Long road trips can often be boring and many a game and horseplay can occur on these treks. However playing unbelievable practical jokes with a CB radio on truckers that are no further than a 5 mile radius is just a terrible plot development. With how dumb Steve Zahn’s character is you get the impression he would have been murdered long before this movie would ever take place. He constantly is saying stupid things and getting into situations that are not plausible and you actually want to see him murdered in this movie. Paul Walker as Lewis plays the straighter laced brother and is just a generic college student and has his usual goofy delivery to the max in this film and his performance was below par. They don’t ever seem to capture the danger of the tense situations so you never take that thrilling journey with them. I think also the poor blend of humor into this film was a major deterrent. Helen Hunt look alike Leelee Sobieski playing Lewis’s object of affection needs to wear a bra in this film. However she did a decent job in the movie but it gets lost in the mix of the crappy dialogue of the brothers. With the paper thin character development the films frights and scares are limited and too infrequent to be enjoyed properly. The unknown evil killer stalks the threesome at every turn in the quietest 18 wheeler ever recorded. He is a supernatural five steps ahead of this threesome at all times and it gets tiring really quickly. The ending can’t get here quick enough on this film as it truly has little redeeming qualities. I cannot recommend this film for it is lack of thrills and poor characters make you think the ride is the polar opposite to joy.
T Factor + Do not need strong dramatic actors for your thrillers this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need lots of action sequences in your film this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Hitcher, Highwaymen