Tyro writer-director Chusy Haney-Jardine's pretentious "Anywhere USA" is dressed up in postmodern smarty pants, only to resolve as an excessively overlong personal project that chases its own tail.
Subtitled “an autobiography in three parts,” tyro writer-director Chusy Haney-Jardine’s pretentious “Anywhere USA” is dressed up in postmodern smarty pants, only to resolve as an excessively overlong personal project that chases its own tail. A triptych on, respectively, a trailer-park couple, a bright child and her slacker relative, and a wealthy Anglo man runs on and on, even as each elaborately written and staged part amounts to little. Euro fests may book this Sundance special jury prize-winner as a supposedly clever piece of new Americana, but auds everywhere will ignore it.
Sections are presented in storybook fashion, with each part profoundly titled (“Penance,” “Loss,” “Ignorance”) and narrated in third-person (by single-monickered, stentorian narrator Virato). “Penance” tiresomely plays as a bit of trailer-trash farce, with hubby Gene (Mike Ellis) suddenly on the outs with wife Tammy (Mary Griffin). Gene’s aggressive dwarf pal Little Ricky (Brian Fox) makes Gene believe Tammy is having an affair with an Al-Qaeda member. Mayhem ensues.
“Loss” is at least briefer as a ridiculous tale of how children — in this case, Pearl (Perla Haney-Jardine, the helmer’s daughter) — endure the death of their parents. Pearl’s uncle Jeremiah (Jeremiah Brennan) does enough stupid things here to warrant an arrest for child endangerment.
Wildly misfiring as a supposedly clever spin on white guilt, “Ignorance” concerns affluent Ralph (Ralph Brierley) as he strives to break bread with blacks. Narrative cop-out at the end is then glossed over in the pic’s last bid for po-mo irony, but it doesn’t wash.
Asheville, N.C.-shot film is partly designed as a valentine to the Smoky Mountains burg, and yet (per title), the place is never named. Design, lighting and graphic elements drip with hip. Running time of 124 minutes screams for trimming.