The Go-Getter

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Opened: Friday, June 6 (Peace Arch Entertainment).

A road movie that rambles even more than its wandering protagonist, "The Go-Getter" is the sort of quirky independent comedy that strives for hipness but ultimately just feels contrived and derivative.

While its appealing performances, sun-dappled cinematography and occasional witty dialogue provide some com--pensation along the way, the trip feels far longer than it actually is.

The central character is Mercer (Lou Taylor Pucci, "Thumbsucker"), a 19-year-old still grieving for his recently deceased mother. One day he impulsively steals a car and goes off in search of his older, estranged half brother (Jsu Garcia). Driving through the open ranges of the Southwest, he soon begins a teasing cell phone relationship with the car's surprisingly not angry owner, Kate (Zooey Deschanel).

Along the way, he encounters a series of oddballs, including a pornographer who goes by the name Sergio Leone (Julio Oscar Mechoso), a liquor-supply salesman (Bill Duke) who offers self-defense tips and a former classmate (Jena Malone) who introduces him to the pleasure of Ecstasy-enhanced sex.

Writer-director Martin Hynes seems all too eager to reveal the influence of the French New Wave and other genres as evidenced by examples like a dance sequence that directly quotes Godard's "Band of Outsiders."

Eventually, after an amusing montage in which Mercer imagines numerous possibilities for the face of the disembodied voice with whom he's been speaking, he and Kate finally meet, though the encounter doesn't live up to the nearly feature-length buildup.

Cast: Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel, Jena Malone, William Lee Scott, Nick Offerman, Maura Tierney, Judy Greer, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Bill Duke, Colin Fickes, Jsu Garcia. Director-Screenwriter: Martin Hynes. Producers: Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Lori Christopher, Larry Furlong. Rated R, 93 minutes. 

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