An unhappy bulimic goes on the lam with a sexually confused Mormon drifter in “Somewhere Slow,” a mediocre journey of self-discovery from indie helmer-writer Jeremy O’Keefe. Although it reps a step up in production values from O’Keefe’s micro-budget debut, “Wrestling,” this tonally all-over-the-place drama fails to convince; the tic-filled lead performances don’t help, either. After touring second-tier fests, the pic opens Jan. 31 in limited release prior to VOD launch on Feb. 4.
Hiding her low self-esteem under a thick layer of pancake makeup, with bright lipstick calling attention to her artificially enhanced lips and toothy smile, the well-coiffed, 40-something Anna (Jessalyn Gilsig, “Glee,” “Vikings”) goes about daily life like a crazy-eyed automaton, her offbeat interactions and odd little-girl voice seemingly utterly out of synch with the people and situations she encounters. Anna is one year into a not particularly fulfilling marriage with the well-meaning but controlling Robert (David Costabile), who is oblivious to her feelings, especially in bed. An underdeveloped narrative strand reveals that she has a prickly relationship with her cancer-stricken mother (Lindsay Crouse) and younger sister.
One very bad day, Anna’s world comes crashing down around her. Fired from her job as a skin-care rep, she flees in denial, dragging her suitcase of samples, only to have to her car run out of gas in the middle of a big rainstorm just as her cell-phone battery dies. To make matters worse, she wanders into the bloody aftermath of a deadly convenience-store robbery and wanders out with the contents of the cash register in a plastic bag. It seems more than a little out of character for a woman who later declares that she has never even snuck candy into a movie theater, but typical of the script’s sloppy treatment of character details.
It requires an even greater leap of faith to swallow germophobe Anna’s relationship with Travis (Graham Patrick Martin, “Major Crimes”), a mysterious teen hustler with multiple aliases who first drags her to the drug-filled home of a louche photographer (Wallace Langham), and then drives her, in a stolen car, to the summer cottage her family once owned on the New England coast. Despite the fact that the gay-for-pay Travis is half Anna’s age and taking pills for an unspecified illness that may be HIV, the pair wind up in a passionate affair that plays out in cliched images and some ludicrous time-lapse cross-cutting. Luckily, Anna’s habit of vomiting after eating takes a convenient remission during their idyll.
Best aspect of the production is Justin Talley’s moody lensing, which tightly frames Anna in her woman-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown existence in urban Delaware, but gives her more space against the rural beauty of the coast as she evaluates her life. Saccharine score by Barry J. Neely doesn’t add anything to the action.