"Prairie Love" extends a thimbleful of undeveloped character and story ideas over 81 minutes of presumed black-comedy drollery.

Tedious “Prairie Love” extends a thimbleful of undeveloped character and story ideas over 81 minutes of presumed black-comedy drollery as flat as its frozen North Dakota tundra setting. Impressively lensed as that setting is, the stark widescreen look isn’t enough to hold interest in a movie whose would-be absurdist snowbound inertia fast induces viewer brain-freeze. Commercial prospects for director/co-writer Dusty Bias’ first feature are below zero.

An itinerant road tripper identified only as “Vagrant” (Jeremy Clark) finds a man frozen stiff in the middle of a backcountry lane, loads him into his truck and thaws him out, finding out before the guy regains consciousness that “NoDak” (Garth Blomberg) was headed to at last meet his prison-penpal girlfriend before his car conked out. After much laconic and sorely unfunny time together, the driver ditches his charge, assumes his identity and picks up the aforementioned freshly sprung “Girl” (co-scenarist Holly Lynn Ellis, vaguely channeling Frances McDormand in “Fargo”). More narrative paint dries. Performers have nothing to work with in terms of dialogue, action, or more than the thinnest character outlines, though tech contributions are solid.

Prairie Love

Production

A Left Turn Prods. presentation. Produced by Douglas Mueller, Holly Lynn Ellis, Brian Quist, Bryant Mock, Ashley Martin Bias. Co-producer, Ted Speaker. Executive producers, Dusty Bias, Ashley Martin Bias. Directed, edited by Dusty Bias. Screenplay, Dusty Bias, Ashley Bias, Holly Lynn Ellis.

Crew

Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Lawrence Schweich; music, Ted Speaker; production designer, Douglas Meuller. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Next), Jan. 23, 2011. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Jeremy Clark, Holly Lynn Ellis, Garth Blomberg.

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