'Chasing Yesterday': Film Review

Courtesy of Marineo Pictures
A rudimentary attempt at comeback-kid dramedy.

A tarnished track star tries to win his life back in a high-stakes race.

New Yorker Joseph Pernice, not to be confused with the songwriter/novelist of the same name, makes his feature debut with Chasing Yesterday, a redemption tale about a fallen golden boy who gets his mojo back when forced to lace those running shoes on again. Unimaginative in the extreme and playing more like a student film than one expects, given the reasonable experience level of its cast, it will struggle to find an audience even on small screens.

Beginning with a series of mock-doc interviews describing the high-school fame of Junior (Eric Nelsen) in hyperbolic terms, the pic then alludes to rumors about the girlfriend who dumped him who soon wound up dead. Now, the boy is a one-dimensional sulkster hiding behind sunglasses as his parents try to get him back on track.

Delivering food for his father's restaurant, Junior accidentally backs into a runner, Jenny (Courtney Baxter), who twists her ankle. In an unconvincing pantomime of indignant anger, Baxter conveys her character's feeling that this accident makes Junior her rightful slave. Jenny had been training for a big race in hopes of winning a scholarship; now, she has the dubious notion that washed-up track star Junior can run in her place and win the money for her.

Cue an unconvincing training sequence in which, of course, the drill sergeant-like Jenny finds herself falling for the suddenly perky Junior. Her abrasiveness and self-help platitudes somehow do for him what shrinks and rehab couldn't; he combs his hair, wears clean clothes and sets out to beat his old racing nemesis Matthew, a generic Harvard douche played by David A. Gregory.

A string of cliches like this could result in guilty pleasure if delivered by a likeable cast or peppered with humor, but Chasing Yesterday offers none of the usual enticements. It vanishes from the memory like a sprinter from the starting line.

Production company: Marineo Pictures
Cast: Eric Nelsen, Courtney Baxter, Josh Flitter, Adam LeFevre, Steven R. Schirripa, David A. Gregory, Blanche Baker
Director-screenwriter: Joseph Pernice
Producers: Joseph Pernice, Courtney Baxter, Eric Nelsen, Sainty Nelsen
Executive producers: Deborah Baxter, Molly Reid, Rusty Reid
Director of photography: Matthew Troy
Production designer: Garrett McDonald
Costume designer: Dylan Caltabiano
Editors: Gabriella Loutfi, Joseph Pernice
Composers: David Hamilton, Kyle "Brainwave" Baxter, Jordan Graves
Casting director: Sainty Nelsen

Not rated, 91 minutes