The alternate reality in Day Zero is a nightmare for young American men: Within a backdrop of terrorist attacks and the Iraq War, the U.S. military draft has been reinstated. It's an intriguing concept, but it's stuck in a film that rarely digs deep, and never quite hits the mark.

Rather than investigate the larger, more challenging issues, first-time director Bryan Gunnar Cole keeps it small and personal, focusing on three buddies: a wimpy author (Elijah Wood, continuing to shed Frodo), a suit-and-tied attorney (the stale Chris Klein) and a streetwise cabbie (uneven Jon Bernthal). Each receives his notice at the same time, with 30 days to report for service. And with the first scenes featuring the trio, it's tough to believe they'd ever been friends -- sadly, they just seem like three actors pretending to be friends, proof that on-screen camaraderie can be a bitch to achieve.

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