Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Not often have I been more certain of the direction a movie is heading, or more wrong. "littlerock," a sensitive indie feature by Mike Ott, plays fair. I was misled only by my own cynicism. I arrived at quick assumptions about the characters, and didn't credit them for being young and aimless but not evil or violent. Within the terms of their relationships, they all come out fairly well — not happy, but not tragic, and they had some good times.
"Littlerock" is a town in the remote drylands of Los Angeles County. From the looks of its Fourth of July parade, it may be a nice place to live, but the characters we meet are all unemployed, living in poverty, spending their days drinking and smoking pot. When they offer to take a visitor biking around town, it's not on motorbikes but child-sized bicycles that look like they'd had them since they were 8 or 9.
The two visitors are Atsuko and Rintaro, a sister and brother from Japan. Their rental car broke down as they were driving toward San Francisco. The brother (Rintaro Sawamoto) speaks a little English, the sister (Atsuko Okatsuka) none. They check into a motel and fall into the orbit of some kids about their age when they go to complain about the noise in the next room. They're are friendly enough, offer them beers, share smokes and let them hang out.
One of the local boys is Cory (Cory Zacharia), who is pleasant to the attractive girl, but sort of slow, as if he's smoked too much pot. Her brother looks on coolly. Where is this going? Atsuko is headed for trouble, right? Not at all. She doesn't drink too much, she isn't assaulted, and these layabouts don't belong to a local chain saw gang.