Sometimes you’ll watch a movie that you want to like more than you do. Sleeping In Plastic, from writer-director Van Ditthavong, is one such film. It starts with a bang, almost literally. A naked teen is running through a field, stumbles onto a paved road where he is promptly hit by a car and killed.
Sheriff Riley (Darryl Cox) is now trying to figure out the who, where, when, and most importantly, the why. Meanwhile, high school wrestler Brandon (Alex MacNicoll) is sick of his small Texas town life and his abusive mom. He longs to escape and is just counting down the days until he can. This is despite a blossoming relationship with classmate Ellie (Paige McGarvin).
However, things begin to look up for the lad after he meets hooker Pearla (Addison Timlin). While at first, Pearla just needs Brandon to drive her around, the two eventually find themselves falling for each other. But, that does not sit well with Oz Bacco (Dash Mihok), Pearla’s pimp. Now, the newly minted couple needs to figure out a way to repay Basco or face his wrath.
“…the newly minted couple needs to figure out a way to repay Basco or face his wrath.”
The biggest problem with Sleeping In Plastic is how “been there, seen that” the movie feels. Blood Simple and Blue Velvet are over 30 years old. A Simple Plan and Best Laid Plans were released 20+ years ago. These stories of criminal behavior set against small-town Americana, successful or not, all have a distinct viewpoint. Ditthavong’s inspiration is worn on its proverbial sleeve, but with muddled motivations and no clear sense of purpose.
Perhaps that is because of his ponderous screenplay. The dialogue is all vague expressions, which never means all that much. At one point, Pearla responds to a question about Oz being her pimp by saying, “Well, he is what he is.” That is such a nonsensical answer that sheds light on absolutely nothing. It really would have been more interesting if she just did not answer the question at all.