Best Friends Forever: Slamdance Review

The destruction of Los Angeles isn't enough to enliven this muddled road movie.

Brea Grant directs herself in a road movie with apocalyptic overtones.

PARK CITY -- A terrorist attack dwarfing 9/11 gets equal billing with petty relationship bickering in Best Friends Forever, Brea Grant's road movie with a mushroom cloud in its rear-view mirror. Acting and making her directorial debut in a film she and co-star Vera Miao wrote for themselves, Grant captures neither the friendship's essence nor apocalyptic dread; commercial prospects are bleak.

Harriet (Grant) is a troubled Angeleno hoping to reboot her life while studying Library Science in Austin; trampy buddy Reba (Miao), who's incapable of taking life seriously, will accompany her on the L.A.-to-Texas drive before returning home. A terrorist's bomb destroys L.A. just as Harriet's vintage Pacer is making its way into the desert, but the two somehow manage not to notice the explosion.

They also fail to grasp why strangers they meet along the way are behaving so strangely -- innocuous-seeming boys steal their car and strand them at a rest stop; a sweaty cowboy mumbles about conspiracies; passing motorists stare at the girls from behind gas masks. Harriet finally notices a newscast midway through the trip, but keeps the bombing a secret until the girls arrive in Austin.

There, what has been an unconvincing portrait of mismatched friendship disintegrates into end-times bacchanalia: The women fight and go their separate ways, with a thinly painted scenario of police-state panic and racist vigilantism existing only to bring them back together. When the Dewey Decimal System winds up saving somebody's life, viewers may be too enervated to roll their eyes.


Production Company: Storeyteller Films, Pacer Car Productions

Cast: Brea Grant, Vera Miao, Stacey Storey, Sean Maher, Kit Williamson, Alex Berg, Alex Fernie

Director: Brea Grant

Screenwriters: Brea Grant, Vera Miao

Producers: Vera Miao, Stacey Storey

Executive producers: Robert Bella, Mary Larson, Timothy Larson

Director of photography: Michelle Lawler

Production designer: Carolyn King

Music: Matthew Puckett

Costume designer: Willie Boy Jr.

Editors: Jacob Chase, Amy McGrath

No rating, 80 minutes