Scenic Route (Kevin Goetz & Michael Goetz, 2013)

Focusing on two lifelong friends as they’re indefinitely stranded on the side of a lone desert road, Scenic Route uses obvious contributing factors in building to a silly dramatic crux stemming from continuing conflict. Opening with flash frames of Mitch (Josh Duhamel) and Carter (Dan Fogler) pissing about in a violent struggle, the Goetz brothers’ self-presumed cleverness relating to its outcome takes a backseat to repetitious shouting and soul-searching.

Sabotaging his own vehicle if only to play catch up in the worst of places, Carter’s stupidity in itself is a particularly weak starting point, the prolonged, unauthentic verbal blows to follow from both parties ringing subjectively relatable if barely. From one overly scripted monologue to the next, the script as a whole is basally competent, shining ever so often at recognizable intervals when it doesn’t feel like narrative filler’s being stuffed down our throats. Put plainly, Scenic Route has a problem with its lack of self-sustainability, the film as a whole feeling disjointed despite a simplistic premise and singular setting.

Concluding with an admirably loftier bit that’s well-implemented but a bit jarring, Scenic Route tries to earnestly convey its thoughts pertaining to living life to the fullest but still falls flat. Excelling briefly if only thanks to Duhamel and Fogler’s surprising turns, striking desert scenery and a few key sequences, the Goetz brothers’ feature-length debut is an agreeably ambitious but forgettable affair. It’s appealingly dark, however the film runs its course early on and unintentionally bores despite slightly profound existential musings and the sense of urgency riddling its leads’ predicament.

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