A wan replay of the already derivative youthful-buddy-caper hijinx in indies like “Bottle Rocket” and “Palookaville,” “Solid Ones” offers tepid comedy and vague, touchy-feely dramatics, making for an inconsequential feature debut from writer-helmer-star Brent Florence. Like several preemed titles at San Jose fest, pic suggests the hype about digitally shot pics will prove hollow so long as products come off like low-end direct-to-vid fodder.
Florence plays Frank, a Northern California 20-year-old newly dumped by his g.f. He and two slacker pals, surfer-dude-ish dim bulb Joey (Kenny Luper) and hot-tempered Neil (Christian Leffler) plot escape from their dead-end small town by robbing the local bingo tournament. That haul proves small, but inept trio decides, “We’re goin’ to the city!” anyway – until their car breaks down. Haplessly piling up further criminal offenses en route, they cross paths with pretty but doleful Hope (Tracy Zahoryin) and her abusive b.f., Dave (Josh Holland), as two bumbling cops pursue. Attempts at quirky humor are lame, serious themes feebly handled; leads look way too Central Casting to convince as local yokels. Vet June Allyson appears as Joey’s grandma. Tech aspects are OK.