You can be forgiven if Pins and Needles gives you an After School Special flashback. The film is about as subtle as a brick through the window, though it has enough earnestness to keep its head above water. Sort of.

Though it's only 80 minutes long, Pins and Needles feels like a good two hours -- because its single-minded storyline drags you from Point A to Point B without so much as a detour for comic relief. Writer/director Mark Schwab attempts to mitigate this by telling half the story in the present and half in flashback, but the flashback scenes are so poorly acted that those vignettes make you cringe more than drawing you into the plot. The present -- which takes place completely within a suicide hotline office while one crisis worker (Mark Balunis) tries to ferret out the location of an overdosing young man (Devon Lee Grover) via telephone -- is far more assured.

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