Two brothers with nothing in common but their genes discover blood transcends drug addiction in James Franco's sophomoric "Good Time Max." His third helming foray co-scripted with Merriwether Williams coasts on good indie music but fails to conjure up credible situations, while the side characters are little more than stick figures unsuccessfully dropped in for context. With the only texture coming from deliberate digital graininess, pic's chances of widespread theatrical release are decidedly slim.

Two brothers with nothing in common but their genes discover blood transcends drug addiction in James Franco’s sophomoric “Good Time Max.” His third helming foray co-scripted with Merriwether Williams coasts on good indie music but fails to conjure up credible situations, while the side characters are little more than stick figures unsuccessfully dropped in for context. With the only texture coming from deliberate digital graininess, pic’s chances of widespread theatrical release are decidedly slim.

When drug-addled genius Max (Franco) needs to escape town after double-crossing a cocaine dealer, he bums a cross-country ride with straight-laced bro Adam (Matt Bell), heading toward his hospital residency in L.A. Promising he’s gone straight, Max finds a job, but soon gets swept into crystal meth addiction with co-worker Skeet (Trip Hope). Arrogant and yawningly immature, Max gets thrown out of the house, but the pressures of Adam’s residency mean he, too, turns to popping drugs to relieve life’s pressures. Dialogue, especially between brothers, is pedestrian, while the misunderstood-genius plot is poorly thought out. Franco’s nervous energy works for his character, but the camerawork would benefit from fewer jiggles.

Good Time Max

Production

A Rabbit Bandini production. Produced by Vince Jolivette. Co-producers, Zak Knutson, Peter Manoogian. Directed by James Franco. Screenplay, Franco, Merriwether Williams.

Crew

Camera (color, HD, widescreen), David Klein; editors, Sven Pape, Dave Rock; music, Jonathon Sadoff; production designer, Kambiz Hemati; costume designer, Kerrie Kordowski; associate producer, Annie Oelschlager. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Encounters), May 1, 2007. Running time: 78 MIN.

With

James Franco, Vince Jolivette, Richard Portnow, Jarrod Bunch, Trip Hope, Wilmer Calderon, Peter Mackenzie, Brian Lally, Charity Shea, Molly Cheek, Mary Payne, Bailey Hughes, Tylor Chase.

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