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California Solo

Movie Details

California Solo
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 2012-11-30 NY 2012-12-07 LA
  • Running Time: 94 min.
  • Director: Marshall Lewy
  • Cast: Robert Carlyle, Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Danny Masterson, Michael Des Barres, Brad Greenquist, Robert Cicchini, Savannah Lathem, Eli Vargas
  • Producer: Mynette Louie
  • Writer: Marshall Lewy
  • Distributor: Strand Releasing
  • Official Site: California Solo Official Site

Woe is the rocker whose career is cut short by a more talented sibling/bandmate's death, a plight played for earnest drunken-irresponsibility bathos in California Solo. Years removed from his heyday as the Britpop guitarist sidekick to his now-dead frontman brother, Lachlan (Robert Carlyle) toils away in anonymity on a U.S. farm. When a bit of behind-the-wheel boozing threatens to get him deported back to the U.K., Lachlan drinks more, scrambles about for cash, strikes up a pseudo-romance with a younger woman (Alexia Rasmussen), and reconnects with his long-estranged ex-wife (Kathleen Wilhoite) and teenage daughter (Savannah Lathem)-- all scenarios that writer/director Marshall Lewy steeps in sparse, plaintive guitar strumming. Carlyle radiates soulfulness throughout his character's various self-destructive alcoholic escapades, and Lewy's focus is consistently on character emotion over overt melodrama. Lachlan's journey of self-discovery, however, is so thinly dramatized that any transformation feels like a device, and any modest hopefulness comes across as simply the unearned wishful thinking of the filmmaker. A final, wannabe-ambiguous shot attempts to complicate that optimism, but like too much of California Solo-- which hits its notes with a somber-indie roteness that drains it of any spontaneity or volatility-- it mainly feels like the last example of a film going through the motions.

Nick Schager

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