DAYDREAM NATION // Unsure of what this coming-of-age, teenage drama is really supposed to be, the performances just barely make “Daydream Nation” tolerable through its 98 minute run-time. Kat Dennings plays a seventeen year old high school student, Caroline, moved from the city to a small town by her father. Unlike a similar premise in the television show “Subugatory”, there is little humor and no real worthwhile motives for any of the characters. Caroline sleeps with her English teacher (Josh Lucas) as well as the awkward stoner, Thurston (Reece Daniel Thompson), creating an unnecessary love triangle.
Kat Dennings is also not a great narrator, but with some voluptuous curves, she’s believable as the seductive high school teen. Don’t get me wrong, she works in films like “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, because she’s mysterious yet awkward, and stands out of the crowd. She’s also a pretty believable bitch, especially in a scene where she talks down a fellow female student in the girls’ bathroom after being negatively approached by her. Josh Lucas also showcases his talent with a wide range of emotions in his performance. Although there is not a concise reason he changes his demeanor, he eventually falls for Caroline and when she doesn’t respond with the same emotions, he goes into a downward spiral that would have proved more thought-provoking, had it turned fatal.
Lacking a clear direction and containing far too many meandering ideas, “Daydream Nation” fails to be as witty or pithy as it aims to be. But with some on-par casting and technical approachability, the film is able to just land slightly below average. Garnering an “R” rating helps the film slightly, delivering some much needed sexual tension, but if you were to ask me point blank what this film was about, I couldn’t give you a straight answer.
[Directed by Michael Goldbach] [R] [98 mins] [6 May 2011]