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Originally published Friday, April 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

"Backseat" is a road trip full of potholes

Once in a while, a movie inspires nothing more than complete apathy. "Backseat" is such a lackluster work. There's nothing wrong with Bruce...

Movie review 1.5 stars

"Backseat," with Rob Bogue, Josh Alexander. Directed by Bruce Van Dusen, from a screenplay by Alexander. 80 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.

Once in a while, a movie inspires nothing more than complete apathy. "Backseat" is such a lackluster work.

There's nothing wrong with Bruce Van Dusen's road-trip comedy about a pair of mismatched, 30-something losers on a mission from New York to Montreal to meet Donald Sutherland. (Just so you know, Sutherland never shows up in the film.) But Josh Alexander's bland screenplay strains at every turn for story structure, comic ideas, scenes worth watching and characters worth caring about.

Alexander plays overgrown adolescent Colton, who can either be a witless rogue or sagacious jester to best pal Ben (Rob Bogue), a book-learned but unemployed pushover for Colton's goofy whims. Through flashbacks, we see that Ben is burdened by a frayed romance, further underscoring his problem with making good choices for himself.

Stuff happens. There's a bag of cocaine in the picture, Ben's wacky cousin shows up with a mute friend, a stripper gets hired, Ben and Colton argue and stop on the road a lot to relieve themselves. Even with Van Dusen's competent direction and Andy Keir and Gavin Cutler's tight editing, the banality of it all is numbing.

Making the experience even more of a chore is the film's color. I don't know if I was looking at a bum print at a press screening, but tones were distorted and all over the map.

Tom Keogh, Special to The Seattle Times

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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