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Sky Island Films
NEW YORK — Writer-director Dylan McCormick’s drama about the troubled relationship between a failed writer (Frederick Weller) with daddy issues and the artist (Greer Goodman) who left him to pursue her passion in the big city is more earnest than insightful. Filled with indie film cliches, including a country/folk soundtrack that cues you into every emotion, “Four Lane Highway” is the sort of effort geared to make an impact at rural film festivals.
The title is symbolic, naturally, referring to the journeys undertaken by the film’s four main characters: They are Sean (Weller), the son of a famous novelist who has abandoned his writing in favor of manual labor and hitting on younger college girls; his best friend, Lyle (Reg Rogers), a serious alcoholic and, of course, a natural quipster; Molly (Goodman), a painter who refuses to accept Sean’s lack of artistic ambition; and Molly’s roommate, Sasha (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a party girl addicted to one-night stands.
The confusing screenplay jumps back and forth in time, from the beginning of Sean and Molly’s relationship years earlier, to the present, when he travels to New York, Lyle in tow, in an effort to get her back.
Neither the characters nor the situations are unique enough to sustain interest, and the film suffers from the performers either underplaying (Weller) or hamming it up (Rogers and Rodriguez). Only Goodman manages to be natural and unaffected in her role, though she too is ultimately hampered by her character’s lack of distinctiveness.
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