Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Humboldt County

Tonight I saw Humboldt County, starring Jeremy Strong and Chris Messina.

The story follows Peter (Strong), a bright medical student severely lacking in social skills, who follows a girl (Fairuza Balk) to Humboldt County and remains stranded with her family (though she disappears) for a long period of time.

The family is made up of hippie grandparents (Brad Dourif and the lovely Frances Conroy) who are raising their son and granddaughter, caring for random stray guests and harvesting large amounts of marijuana in the California forest where they reside.

Peter is a fish out of water in their carefree, illegal world, but soon acclimates to their casual lifestyle and befriends the son (Messina), who is more concerned about protecting his crops than preserving his life.

The film begins cleverly, with a very funny opening scene. And the strong presence of Fairuza Balk injects the landscape with a fresh dose of character but unfortunately lulls upon arrival at the hippie homestead (which could've been a set double for Aunt Sarah's pad in Six Feet Under).

The token child is charming and Peter's self-discovery is endearing, but overall, the writing felt too formulaic to be original.

The directors, however, did a fine job of framing the film and providing a very exciting climactic scene at the end. Just don't arrive expecting to see newness in the characters or the story.

Go see this instead for the gorgeous shots of Arcata, California and that beautiful nearby coastline.

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