(out of 5)
This indie curiosity garnered much publicity upon its release for the fact that it pulled off an amazing stunt in the world of litigious corporations: they made a movie at Disney World without permission. Director Randy Moore films the story of a family of four who are on their last day at the Happiest Place On Earth and are beginning the feel the effects of all that joy. Dad is tired of his nagging wife, the kids want to go on rides that have huge lineups, and two pretty and young French girls are constantly nearby and leading the old man into very inappropriate fantasies. Time progresses and even weirder things begin to happen, including an encounter with an enchanting woman with wicked designs and a science-fiction third act that goes way off the rails, but unpredictability is not what keeps this film from being the wonder of guerilla filmmaking that you were duped into thinking it would be. Rather it is the pedestrian acting and writing that makes it a garbage heap, for while it is genuinely admirable that they got so much footage on the sly (an abundance of it, actually, making the scenes of obvious green-screening very forgivable), there’s no getting around how unconvincing the performances are, the situations forced and contrived even when they are not venturing into the realms of imagination. The idea that Disney World, a clean and controlled place where people can visit the entire globe without having to deal with any of its ugly realities, could actually be harboring something sinister beneath its smooth surface is a highly clever one, but Moore’s limited understanding of irony has an idiotic hero being felled by shrewish women (all of whom are stereotypes offensive to intelligence) and then later indulging in nonsense surrealism that feels like he ran out of ideas. A more clever irony would involve having comfortable, middle-class Americans realizing that even a fantasy land eventually gives into banality rather than the eccentricity that happens here; it’s rare that imagination plays as a disappointing substitute for insight, but there you have it.
Directed by Randy Moore
Screenplay by Randy Moore
Cinematography by Lucas Lee Graham
Music by Abel Korzeniowski
Costume Design by Gara Gambucci
Film Editing by Soojin Chung