Dreamland may be stuffed full of cliched characters in its trailer trash setting (and why a trailer park would be constructed under power lines in the middle of the New Mexico desert I have no idea), but let's put that aside for a moment. At its heart it is not the awful direct-to-DVD movie that you're probably expecting. The only legitimate reason for that is star Agnes Bruckner, who continues to take role after role in movies that simply don't measure up to her capabilities as one of our best young actresses. (If you haven't seen her in her other headlining role this year, The Woods, don't.)
First-time director Jason Matzner directs this brief love triangle story with a gentle hand. It has all the hallmarks of the trailer genre: hot, sweaty people barely dressed and wasting away their empty days, plus soap opera dramatics to create a loose structure for the film. The three sad sacks in this tryst are Audrey (Bruckner), caring for her widower dad (John Corbett), now reduced to a blubbering drunk with a shrine to his dead wife (who apparently had no life insurance). Her best friend is the improbably hot Calista (Kelli Garner), who dreams of becoming Miss America... despite being stricken with M.S. Into their lives comes an aspiring college basketball player named, er, Mookie (the hopelessly miscast Justin "I'm a Mac" Long). Audrey likes him, but he goes for the buxom Calista, and Audrey pines away... until she gives in, of course.
The end result of this affair is hardly satisfying, and that's unfortunate: Dreamland has a hazy beauty to it and some interesting characters (Mookie excepted) driving the story. It all amounts to much ado about nothing -- absolutely nothing, really -- except that maybe, just maybe, Audrey will finally grow up and move on with her life.
It's a long way to go for such a tepid lesson.
In Theaters: Wednesday 1st August 2007
Distributed by: Dreamland Motion Picture Co.
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Jason Matzner
Screenwriter: Tom Willett
Starring: Michael J. Minor as Narrator, Daniel Roberts as Dan Freeman, Tasma Walton as April Freeman