“Falling Like This” is a quotidian entry in the never-interesting genre of alienated white trash youth flicks. This film might actually be less worthwhile than most, owing to the pointless story and the amazingly bland performances by the young cast.
“Falling Like This” takes place in a shabby suburb of California’s San Fernando Valley in the early 1980s…or at least that’s what the press kit insists, as there is nothing on-screen to even vaguely suggest that particular era. Teenage Katie (Megan Wilson) is a sweet but dumb girl who is enraptured by bad-boy Boyd (Brian Vaughan), which is not hard to understand since he is the best looking guy in the film. Katie describes him as being sweet and vulnerable, although the local law enforcement agencies have other words to describe him. It seems Boyd has a curious habit of stealing cars and finds his wooing of Katie interrupted by stints in a juvenile detention center (depicted in this cheapo production by having Boyd stand behind a chain-link fence). Yet Katie stupidly doesn’t see what Boyd is really all about and she stands by her man…unless he is being chased by gun-toting cops. If you care, more power to you…my eyelids rebelled against me less than a half-hour into this flick.
Filmmaker Dani Minnick never bothers to create a story to shock or inspire us, nor does she manage to coax performances out of her young cast. Megan Wilson’s Katie is so empty and bland that she seems more like a somnambulist than a lonely girl seeking love, and one reason why “Falling Like This” fails is her inability to telegraph any emotion or thought regarding what makes her character tick. Brian Vaughan should have the easier part as the miscreant Boyd, yet his hair-tossing/chain-smoking performance seems more like male model posing, and he also comes across as a cipher. A variety of young actors fill out the roles of the lovers’ pals, but no one is given a personality or a chance to connect with the audience. All of the adults in the film are, not surprisingly, depicted as either brutes or dopes.
Further complicating matters is one of the worst scores ever put into a film. Ani DiFranco writes and performs an endless skein of clumsy folk-rock tunes that neither reflects the mood of the action on-screen nor pays any charity to the limits of the audience’s endurance. Did anyone actually listen to this muck before dropping it in?
“Falling Like This” literally falls flat almost after the title sequence and never finds the strength or direction to pick itself up. It is, sadly, one of the low points of the Slamdance happenings.