Review: ‘Berkeley’

Veteran TV helmer Bobby Roth's dramatization of his late-'60s college days rep an awkward flashback to times that still loom large in historic memory. Pallid where the writer-director's prior indies ("Jack the Dog," "Manhood") were obnoxious, "Berkeley" reprises their pretensions -- adding an overambitious period agenda betrayed by an obvious low budget.

Veteran TV helmer Bobby Roth’s dramatization of his late-’60s college days rep an awkward flashback to times that still loom large in historic memory. Pallid where the writer-director’s prior indies (“Jack the Dog,” “Manhood”) were obnoxious, “Berkeley” reprises their pretensions — adding an overambitious period agenda betrayed by an obvious low budget. Starring Roth’s son Nick, pic is a vanity project with just enough generically marketable aspects to attract some cable and DVD sales.

Ben Sweet (Nick Roth) enters the U. of California at Berkeley in 1968, as the counterculture and antiwar movements reach full tilt. Yet his experiences, meant to personify those turbulent times, seem so minor-league they might as well have taken place at a community college. He’s schooled in partydom by Mishkin (Sebastian Tillinger), awed by radical Henry (Jake Newton), and starts a band (bland Roth Jr. does sing well). But dull casting and cliche-ridden writing drain everyone of vividness, including love interests (Sarah Carter, Laura Jordan) and game Bonnie Bedelia as an academic mentor. Only Henry Winkler as Ben’s carpet-salesman pa has the joie de vivre the pic desperately needs. Tech aspects are fair.

Berkeley

Production

A Jung N Restless Films production. Produced by Bobby Roth, Jeffrey White. Executive producers, Cosmas Paul Bolger, Lon Bender. Directed, written by Bobby Roth.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Steve Burns; editor, Carsten Becker, Emily Wallin; music, Christopher Franke; production designer, Henry G. Sanders. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 8, 2005. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Nick Roth, Laura Jordan, Henry Winkler, Sarah Carter, Tom Morello, Jake Newton, Sebastian Tillinger, Wade Allain-Marcus, Bonnie Bedelia, Sarah Bibb, Ruby Roth.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading