|June 1, 2010|
Rated R for pervasive language and some sexual content
|Small Town Saturday Night
Everyone has a dream. Rhett Ryan’s (Chris Pine) is to be the next big Nashville country singer. Rhett has the talent, but from a small town, he is forced to choose between the life he will leave behind and the life of following his dreams.
Ever since receiving a starring role in Star Trek, Hollywood will not let you forget who Chris Pine is, and how well Star Trek did. Nevertheless. Chris Pine has been impossible to deny. The man sweats charisma and with every line of dialogue he spouts, the more genuine and talented he appears. Without Pine, however, the film would dismally fail.
Poured on top of the main storyline is the lives of those around Rhett Ryan. Rhett’s girlfriend who he will end up leaving behind, Samantha (Bre Blair), and her daughter, Megan (Kali Majors), whose father is the local sheriff, Tommy Carson (Shawn Christian). Tommy and Rhett do not see eye to eye and Tommy presents the reason for Samantha not wanting to leave with Rhett. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. None of these characters add much to the film besides an obstacle course for Rhett to maneuver through.
The recently released from jail Donnie Carson (John Hawkes) adds very little to the storyline besides an explosive force set against the sheriff Tommy. His wandering nature and lack of character losses its appeal several minutes into the film. John Hawkes does the best he can with this role, but chalk it up to poor writing as to why his character falls off the map.
The other rather pointless portion of the film involves Rhett’s younger and less popular brother, Les Ryan (Adam Hendershott). His struggle to fit in and be accepted is contradicted by his overprotective and anti-privacy oriented mother, played by Lin Shave, the same overprotective, chain-smoking, and Jesus-loving mother from the 1999 film Detroit Rock City. Though conclusion of this portion of the film has a nice twist that makes you truly feel for Hendershott’s character, the fact that any of this was supposed to compare to Chris Pine’s story and performance is rather ridiculous.
In re-analyzing, the film could have used a different structure. Instead of meshing all the stories together, the film could have been broken into five or six parts, following each character separately though their arc, like the films Crash or Go, where each character has their time to shine, while the other characters merely show up. Then, when we reach the climax of that character, we move on to the next, always being reminded that Rhett Ryan is the main cause for our concern. Instead we get a completely disorienting chain of events, all never quite living up to their own potential.
Small Town Saturday Night comes off as a personal piece from first time feature film director Ryan Craig. Whether it is or not, the film leaves little to be desired all while showcasing the extreme talents of Chris Pine. Had the film found more well known actors and actresses and fitted to a new structure, Small Town Saturday Night could have been something special. Instead, Small Town becomes small time and will ultimately be passed over by most viewers, save for the tagline on the case of the film: “Starring Chris Pine from Star Trek.”