Bracing, intimate Amerindie “Around the Bay” charts a difficult chapter between one chilly Northern California businessman, his underparented young son, his hitherto estranged adult daughter and the ex-girlfriend he’s trying to win back. Director Alejandro Adams’ improvisational feature is involving, if not wholly satisfying, signaling further fest play and modest DVD exposure. Pic could boost helmer and principal players to bigger if not necessarily better ventures.
When younger g.f. Noreen (Katherine Darling) storms out, emotionally constipated Wyatt (Steve Voldseth) is left alone in his impressive Los Gatos home with 5-year-old Noah (Connor Maselli), sole child by a failed second marriage. As father, Wyatt is as detached as a goldfish owner; ergo, he summons Daisy (Katherine Celio), the first-marriage daughter he hasn’t seen in a decade, who’s lured by the promise of room, board, pool and sunbathing patio — so long as she provides Noah three meals a day. But neglected Noah turns out a highly demanding little terror. Adams overmilks the device of severing soundtracked dialogue from imagery; his decision to replace one key conversation with cricket-chirping renders the denouement needlessly cryptic. Still, perfs and direction achieve sharp potency.