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In the Land of Milk and Money

Middling black comedy "In the Land of Milk and Money" lacks the courage to run wild with its bad-taste concept -- wherein tainted milk turns the mild mothers of an idyllic all-American town into homicidal maniacs.

With:
With: Chris Coulson, Kim Gillingham, Amy Madigan, Tom Bower, Sandra Seacat, Frances Bay, Jill Andre, Keith Mills, Wayne Pere.

Middling black comedy “In the Land of Milk and Money” lacks the courage to run wild with its bad-taste concept — wherein tainted milk turns the mild mothers of an idyllic all-American town into homicidal maniacs. Muffled result has some laughs but few high points, while intended satire of ’50s sci-fi movies, traditional gender roles and biotech emerges too nebulous to make a point. Already a veteran of numerous smaller fests, pic looks set for a modest ancillary career in rental and cable markets.

Pushed by greedy corporate honcho Mr. Brand (Keith Mills) to use his experimental “bovine growth hormones” on dairy cows, scientist-hero Peter (Chris Coulson) at first doesn’t make the connection when local women begin attacking their own children (even long-grown-up ones). But soon he and pregnant ex-girlfriend Laurie (Kim Gillingham), a TV reporter, suss that Brand Corp. is at fault — and worse, is blocking development of a cure. Too much time is spent with tepid romantic leads, and not enough on the more outrageous material of Susie Homemakers run amuck. Attempt at quasi-1950s Americana atmosphere is cramped by design-budget limitations; other contribs are decent.

In the Land of Milk and Money

Production: A Desert City Film Works production. Produced by Gretchen Engel. Executive producers, Susan Emshwiller, Chris Coulson. Directed, written by Susan Emshwiller.

Crew: Camera (color), Gabor Szitanyi; editors, Emshwiller, Beth Spiegal; music, Ego Plum; production designer, Emshwiller. Reviewed at San Francisco Indie Film Festival, Feb. 12, 2005. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Chris Coulson, Kim Gillingham, Amy Madigan, Tom Bower, Sandra Seacat, Frances Bay, Jill Andre, Keith Mills, Wayne Pere.

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