Seldom Dreaming

"Seldom Dreaming" is an amiable but aimless low-budget drama about some slacker types who'd rather skip "miserable, worthless reality-land" in favor of their own little world -- quite literally, it turns out. Soft-pedaling its fantasy element and just about anything else that might have stirred greater interest, pic is earnest but determinedly minor, resulting in slim commercial chances.

“Seldom Dreaming” is an amiable but aimless low-budget drama about some slacker types who’d rather skip “miserable, worthless reality-land” in favor of their own little world — quite literally, it turns out. Soft-pedaling its fantasy element and just about anything else that might have stirred greater interest, pic is earnest but determinedly minor, resulting in slim commercial chances.

Having just finished college, Carrie (Mary Jackman) reluctantly moves back into her mother’s San Jose house and does what an aspiring writer must — get a boring day job (at a clothing store). Her friend Eric (Mark Phillips) isn’t much happier at his 9-to-5’er.

Far more lost, however, is another childhood pal, the elusive Kevin (Tim Ereneta). At the age of 10, Kevin and Carrie had “fallen through a doorway into another world, a place called Seldom” where, we’re told, “every day (is) an adventure, followed by tea.” They’d returned to drab Earth, but regretted it ever since — especially Kevin, who drifts between minimum-wage jobs while plotting a second, permanent escape to Seldom.

The concept has potential, but writer-director Chris Ereneta hasn’t done enough with it. These young adults and their discontents aren’t very compelling, or very defined. The scenario dawdles along sans incident until an unspectacular finale. Long sequences are occupied by Carrie composing her blah short stories in voiceover, with barely relevant visuals.

Given lack of any poignance or magical atmosphere, pic works best in glimmers of sardonic humor, best realized by Phillips’ engaging turn. Other perfs are OK, if one-dimensionally glum. Lensing is undistinguished, sound a tad variable.

Seldom Dreaming

Production: A Finger Paint Cinema presentation. Produced, directed, written, edited by Chris Ereneta.

Crew: Camera (color, 16mm), Rider Siphron; music, Michael Kroll; production design, Miriam Schalit; sound, Tom Baker; associate producer, Christa Dahlstrom; line producer, Jim McSilver. Reviewed at Camera One Cinema, San Jose, Feb. 4, 1996. (In Cinequest, San Jose Film Festival.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Mary Jackman, Mark Phillips, Tim Ereneta, Sarah Almazol, Wendy Howard-Benham.

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