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Desert Blue Reviews

Boredom is toxic in writer-director Morgan J. Freeman's follow-up to HURRICANE STREETS. Fatuous TV star Skye (Kate Hudson)is taking a road trip with her dad Lance (John Heard), a pop-culture scholar who insists they stop in Baxter, CA, to see the twon's "famous" giant ice cream cone. When the neighboring soda-pop factory accidentally releases potentially poisonous gases into the air, both visitors and native Baxter-ites — including sensitive Blue (Brendan Sexton III), explosives-obsessive Ely (Christina Ricci), all-terrain-vehicle racer Pete (Casey Affleck) and chubby Cale (Ethan Suplee) — find themselves quarantined by the FBI. Aren't those names a red flag? Blue, already laboring under the curse of being a teen in a rinky-dink town, is also pursuing his late father's impossible dream, a water park called Ocean Park. That's right: A water park in the middle of the desert, fed by the aqueducts that channel water to L.A. Alas, geoeconomics have condemned Baxter to barren obscurity, which is where this movie will doubtless end up. It's clearly meant to be a charmingly daffy but perceptive romantic comedy about kids bored out of their gourds, but it all too often falls flat. Christina Ricci is her usual delight as a pyrotechnic delinquent who goes so far as to explode FBI agent Michael Ironsides' car, and Kate Hudson wisely underplays the insipid role of Skye, who starts a romance with Blue (is oafish Brendan Sexton anyone's idea of a movie star?). But Freeman's slack, stale script strangles their sharp performances. Honestly, we don't need independent cinema for products as boring and sub-par as this film: We have Hollywood for that. You come away haunted by the thought that this dull young director personifies a generation who have nothing to say, but will keep talking anyway.