Little Athens is no Pulp Fiction. We've got a small-time drug dealing kid (John Patrick Amedori) who steals a stash from his own dealer's dead cousin, a pair of EMTs (Erica Leerhsen and Rachel Miner) each dealing with issues of love and lust, and two slack-jawed losers (DJ Qualls and Jorge Garcia) who have just been evicted.
Naturally, all players will come together in the end (at a house party in what appears to be a horrible attempt at shooting day for night). Before that point, not much will happen, alas. Everyone will spend a lot of time driving around this little Arizona town, with perhaps a break for lunch. And, come to think of it, not much will happen at the party either, until we reach a disturbingly out-of-place finale that changes the tone of the film from one of just mild contempt to something that's wholly off-putting.
Frankly, Athens' biggest failing is not that its story is so commonplace and dull, but that its characters are so underdeveloped that it's difficult to tell them apart. When we can discern who's who, it is mainly so we can determine who we dislike more, but when a character's wardrobe is their most defining feature, you've got big problems with your film. A couple of set pieces (like Amedori's discovery of the dead cousin) elevate the film above one starsville, but everything else is largely forgettable. Literally: Despite a box cover that touts Radiohead on the film's soundtrack, all I can remember about the music in the movie is the cacophonous and grating four-note violin ditty that plays over and over again and permeates almost every scene.
Rarely have I been this happy to reach the closing credits of a DVD (where this movie, of course, premiered commercially). That DVD includes a commentary track and a making-of featurette.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 1st June 2005
Distributed by: ThinkFilm Inc.
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Tom Zuber
Producer: Josh Lawler, Chad Marshall, Larry Romano, Tom Zuber
Also starring: John Patrick Amedori, Jorge Garcia, Shawn Hatosy, Michelle Horn, Tory Kittles, Erica Leerhsen, Rachel Miner, Leonardo Nam, Michael Pena, DJ Qualls, Jill Ritchie, Eric Szmanda, Tom Zuber, Jeff Zuber