Out in the middle of the desert near Las Vegas there was a phone booth just sitting there, in the middle of nowhere. Well, it was until it was recently taken away but during it’s lifespan, someone stumbled upon it, posted the booths phone number on the internet and soon people from all around the world began calling it. Writers Jerry Rapp and John Putch have taken the obscure Mojave phone booth phenomenon and created a pretty great little film revolving around the booth and the people who used it.
Featuring a big ensemble cast of familiar faces “Mojave Phone Booth” is comprised of a series of short vignettes that not only coincide as characters slip in and out of each others stories, but also collide in terms of common threads. For instance, communication is a theme in that these characters misunderstand each other. Ideas of connection and loneliness are also present and considering the basis for the film is a phone booth in the desert, these themes all piece together perfectly. There’s the heartbroken lush Richard (Romanus) who tries to use 20/20 hindsight to win back his wife. There’s floating slacker Mary (Van Wyk-Loots) who wants what her rich friend Rachel (Haber) has, but doesn’t understand what it takes to get it. Lesbian couple Glory (Gohring) and Alex (Elise) whose lack of communication is being caused by aliens, or so Glory thinks. Yet there’s much more to “Mojave Phone Booth” than a bunch of people running around being misunderstood.
Namely, the film is really funny. While each vignette has a serious side, there’s also some truly classic moments peppered in that bring a light touch to some serious topics. The acting in the film is also very good. As I mentioned, many of these actors involved have been see over the years on TV and in movies. Gish was Scully’s replacement in “X-Files,” Christine Elise was on “90210” and Romanus played Damone in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (“I come here for the strudel”). And hey, you can never go wrong with a little Steve Guttenberg!
Overall “Mojave Phone Booth” succeeds because it exercises a light touch while still being able to make some nice commentaries on life, death and interpersonal connections. The film was also filmed on the cheap and I feel it’s always a plus when a DV film succeeds through basic cinema tenets such as great story, acting and writing and “Mojave Phone Booth” definitely shines in those areas.