Undiscovered

Bomb Rating: 

Suffice it to say that the film's most interesting thing is a skateboarding bulldog. Each time the thing shows up on screen it's like a rat running through the theater. Suddenly, the movie just doesn't matter and all you want to know is where the rat went and when it's coming back.

While watching "Undiscovered", a film that a local theater manager told me had three attendees its opening night, I couldn't get the feeling out of my head that I was watching an extremely long commercial for Nokia or some other incredibly hip appliance where the director uses lots of handheld camera work to emphasize the fact that his subjects are hip, with it, twenty-somethings, and that if you want to be hip and with it too, you'll buy whatever it is they're using or sing whatever songs they're singing.

It's no surprise that director Meiert Avis is a veteran director of music videos. Every shot in the film tries to emphasize some kind of movement, even when it's totally unnecessary. A good example would be a scene where Brier (Pell James) is taking some batting practice (her form of stress relief) and Avis moves the camera away from her each time she takes a swing. We never see the ball. We just get the feeling that the camera is somehow attached to her bat. Basically, all the camera movements were designed to be cool, but had absolutely no meaning beyond that. Oh boy, the director is moving the camera along with the bat. Do I care? No. Do I find it interesting? No.

Avis also loves the little handheld cliché where the camera moves toward a stationary character really fast, a reminder of the hundreds of "NYPD Blue" episodes that did precisely the same thing. In fact, every camera move in the film is so derivative of something else, it's like watching a movie whose dialogue is taken straight from another movie. Avis is talented in the same way a Carrot Top impersonator is talented.

The story is a dull thud of a romance involving a model, Brier, and an aspiring singer, Luke Falcon (Steven Strait). It's love at first sight in New York when the two meet ever so briefly. Later, they meet again in Los Angeles and things stumble along. Brier doesn't trust musicians, but Luke falls in love and hangs on as a friend. The kind of torturous writing the audience is going to be subjected to is revealed in an instant when Brier meets soon-to-be best friend Clea (Ashlee Simpson), who barfs out two coma-inducing expository moments. First on Luke: "He wants to make it on his own terms." Second, on her relationship with Luke: "He's like a bro to me." As if the lines weren't bad enough, Ashlee Simpson gets to deliver them. It's like the ultimate bad film moment double-whammy.

One need not strain too much to figure out what happens in the end. Suffice it to say that the film's most interesting thing is a skateboarding bulldog. Each time the thing shows up on screen it's like a rat running through the theater. Suddenly, the movie just doesn't matter and all you want to know is where the rat went and when it's coming back. Also, given that the film features Carrie Fisher, Fisher Stevens and Peter Weller, the whole thing felt like a refugee camp for "Where Are They Now" subjects.

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