Lurking in Suburbia" is yet another depiction of the collective anomie felt by a group of thirtysomething friends clinging to their high-school glory days. Tyro writer-director Mitchell Altieri's thin, but occasionally engaging pic plods along a path well-trodden by indie filmmakers of the '90s, while never amassing the rich characterizations or pointed insights that have distinguished this genre's more memorable efforts.

Lurking in Suburbia” is yet another depiction of the collective anomie felt by a group of thirtysomething friends clinging to their high-school glory days. Tyro writer-director Mitchell Altieri’s thin, but occasionally engaging pic plods along a path well-trodden by indie filmmakers of the ’90s, particularly Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach, while never amassing the rich characterizations or pointed insights that have distinguished this genre’s more memorable efforts. Some future fest dates, plus vid and cable sales, lie in store.

Set amid the placid suburbs of Northern California, pic unfolds over the 24-hour period preceding the 30th birthday of Conrad Stevens (Joe Egender), a struggling novelist on the rebound from a long-term relationship with g.f. Leila (Shana Barrett). Though he still lives in a frat-house environment, surrounded by other overgrown adolescents, Conrad seems to want to move on, to mature, perhaps even to patch things up with Leila. What pic has going for it derives mostly from moon-eyed newcomer Egender’s very likable performance. Altieri’s script, however, is absent any real depth, and his direction (both visually and of actors) lacks finesse.

Lurking in Suburbia

Production

A San Francisco Films Independent Cinema presentation of an Altieri/Flores, Industrial City Films production. Produced by Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores. Executive producer, Kimbra Ohlinger. Directed, written by Mitchell Altieri.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Abe Levy; editor, David Klagsbrun; music, the Velvet Teen; production designer, Phil Flores. Reviewed at Cinevegas Film Festival (Jackpot Premieres), June 13, 2004. Running time: 87 MIN.

Cast

With: Joe Egender, Samuel Child, Ari Zagaris, Buffy Charlet.
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