Little Athens Movie Review

Ensemble comedies featuring interlocking stories seem to be all the rage these days, but boy does it take serious talent to pull off the intricate plotting and careful structure of one of these films. Tom Zuber (whose prior film, Lansdown, was nothing special either) either doesn't have the talent or the patience for such a story. Instead, he turns in a tired retread of umpteen "slackers do drugs, party, have sex, and get in trouble" movies which have grown so popular and so tiresome in the indie filmmaking scene.

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.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Josh Lawler, Chad Marshall, Larry Romano,

Comments

Little Athens Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2005

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