Blu-ray Review: Awful Script Strands ‘Open Road’ in Formulaic Wasteland

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CHICAGO – So you’re a young woman who decides to fall asleep in your car parked just off the highway. You’re awoken by the rapping fist of a chiseled cop who leers at you with the sexual appetite of a drooling wolf. Sounds like a meet cute straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” But in Marcio Garcia’s head-slapping dud, “Open Road,” it’s supposed to be heartwarming.

See, the cop, David (Colin Egglesfield), has such an instantaneous infatuation with the woman, Angie (Camilla Belle), that he practically can’t contain his excitement when she complains that her car won’t start. So David checks to see what’s wrong with the car, and since he’s off-camera, we assume that he’s hacking away at the engine with his nightstick. After treating her to a meal, David suggests that Angie stay with him in his trailer for as long as it takes for her car to get repaired. Since there’s nobody else on planet Earth for Angie to possibly call in order to hitch a ride home, Angie decides to go with the flow, as she too often does. Blu-ray Rating: 1.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 1.0/5.0

Now I have a suspicion that David is meant to be a good-hearted man in love, but to me, he’s a sexual predator with all the oily charm of Tom Cruise’s misogynistic guru in “Magnolia.” He has no problem taking full advantage of the woman’s misfortune in order to lure her into bed, and what’s worse is that the film is so focused on unfolding its insipid plot that it doesn’t even bother portraying David and Angie’s alleged chemistry. All we get is one of those silly Nicholas Sparks montages where the couple laughs, cavorts and drives around while waving to no one in particular like a politician desperately seeking a boost at the polls. Since the audience is completely uninvested in their sham of a romance, all that’s left to focus on are the curious extended scenes between Angie and a kindly drifter (Andy Garcia). He’s spent many years running from his past and she’s seeking her long lost father. When Angie talks about her father, the drifter’s eyes well up. Gee, I wonder what astonishingly obvious revelation this plot thread has in store for us in the third act? No spoiler alert is necessary since the film spoils itself long before its opening act is complete.

Open Road was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21st, 2013.
Open Road was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21st, 2013.
Photo credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

What led these actors to this project like lambs to the slaughter? The director is a Brazilian superstar with plentiful acting experience, but he seems content in simply planting his camera and watching his actors squirm. Consider the typically inept scene where Juliette Lewis (as David’s inexplicably paranoid sister) frets and moans about Angie’s mysterious past. Lewis rambles on and on through all of her character’s formulaic hang-ups and worries while everything else remains stagnant within the frame. And then the scene just ends, as if it had dutifully filled the gap marked with an “Insert Character Dilemma Here” card. As for Belle, she is a sterling beauty who proved she can go toe to toe with Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Ballad of Jack and Rose.” Here’s hoping that her next screen vehicle will embark on the road less traveled, rather than dive into the cliché-ridden cesspool occupied by bargain basement fodder.
“Open Road” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio) and is available in a Blu-ray/digital copy/UltraViolet combo pack. In a 15-minute, badly subtitled featurette, director Garcia sports an accent that sounds eerily like that of Tommy Wiseau, which may finally provide “Room” fans with a key clue to the kooky auteur’s birthplace. Producer Uri Singer predicts that his film will be “noticed at awards time,” and he may be right, unless another film manages to steal its frontrunner status at the Razzies.

‘Open Road’ is released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment and stars Camilla Belle, Andy Garcia, Colin Egglesfield and Juliette Lewis. It was written by Julia Camara and directed by Marcio Garcia. It was released on May 21st, 2013. It is not rated. staff writer Matt Fagerholm

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