A wistful, low-budget road movie that intersects “Rain Man” and “Midnight Cowboy” terrain, “Hurricane Festival” has some seductive moments but is overly sentimental and emotionally forced. Pic has little chance for theatrical or video distribution.
Nick (Andras Jones) is a good-looking, stubborn young magician who’s down on his luck. After he’s caught sleeping with a rival magician’s wife, he’s wrongly accused of a crime and thrown in the slammer. His cell mate is a mentally challenged giant of a man named Pet Boy (Derek Mears) who has the personality of a 10-year-old but also possesses an unusually potent sense of smell and the ability to read minds.
The magician in Nick takes to Pet Boy’s clairvoyance, and the two develop such a strong bond that, when they are released, they decide to hop on a big, appropriately colorful hippie bus and take a cross-country journey from L.A. to Atlantic City, where Nick thinks his dreams will come true at a magicians’ festival.
The road trip includes all the joys and problems that occur in any number of similar pics, and after the duo pick up a pretty hitchhiker named Milla(Miranda Viscoli), sex, love, jealousy and death are added to the mix.
Director and co-writer Chi Y. Lee’s pic lacks fluidity and consistency. Some scenes include heartfelt dialogue about dreams and relationships that is rather slight but proves moving nonetheless. Other scenes show a character displaying aggression and anger that come from nowhere and are not in line with the personality established elsewhere.
Some picturesque images notwithstanding, most tech credits are subpar. The low budget is no excuse for pic’s uneven color scheme and the consistent, conspicuous sound problems. Adding to the amateurish impression is the work of the actors, all of whom are awkward when called upon to display real emotions.