Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Sugar Mountain: A Simple Plan for Simpletons
think of Alaska as a wild frontier that lags years behind the current trends
sweeping the lower forty-eight, but there have been as many as ten reality
shows simultaneously filming in the land of the midnight sun. With programs
like Deadliest Catch, Alaska State
Troopers, and Bering Sea Gold available,
how much media interest could a lost hiker’s story generate? Admittedly, some
sibling rivalry and sexual jealousy could spice it up a little, but as hoaxes
go, this one seems awfully speculative. It is also an incredibly stupid idea
for the irresponsible West sibling to pretend to be lost in the wild, but
brains are pretty scarce in Richard Gray’s Sugar
which opens today in New York.
the death of their sainted mother, Miles and Liam West have run the family tour
boat business into the ground. With the repossessed boat in dry dock, the
younger Liam eventually agrees to his brother’s scheme. Miles will hole up in a
pre-supplied shelter, eventually coming down after a week or so, to the relief
of an eager media. To make it more interesting, they will stage his
disappearance to make it suspiciously follow a very public spat, in which Miles
will accuse Liam of having eyes for his girlfriend Lauren Huxley, the daughter
of the local sheriff, which maybe isn’t so unlikely a coincidence in a tiny
course, the younger West really has been carrying a torch for Huxley.
Inevitably, the two co-conspirators will become awkwardly close as the endure
the media scrutiny together. The pressure starts to rise when they realize that
fool Miles never made it to his shelter. To make matters worse, recently
released ex-con Joe Bright comes around looking to collect Miles’ gambling debts.
you have seen a film with more stupid decisions than Sugar Mountain, than Dude, I really feel for you. Frankly, Abe
Pogos’s ridiculous script causes so much face-palming, it is hard to actually
watch the movie—not that there’s much there to miss. Nothing makes any sense,
starting with Liam’s mopey infatuation with Huxley when the kind-hearted (and just-as-attractive-or-more)
girl from the general store is clearly interested in him. Any guy growing up in
Alaska would know better than squandering such opportunities, but Gray is
Australian, so whatever.
the only times Sugar is remotely
entertaining are Jason Momoa’s periodic pop-ins to beat the snot out of
everyone as Bright. Sadly, most of the film is dominated by the excruciating
Cain and Abel dynamics and the love triangle, which is ultimately resolved in
an absolutely risible fashion.
Roy, Shane Coffey, and Haley Webb certainly make the three central characters look
and sound like idiots, which could be quite fine acting, but it doesn’t give us
much to work with. Arguably, it is even more depressing to watch Cary Elwes
stumble around as the schlubby Sheriff Huxley. Forget The Princess Bride, this will even depress Saw fans. Only Hawaii’s Momoa seems to glide through unscathed,
perhaps feeling that 1959 non-contiguous kinship.
Regardless, this film is just a mess that would
try anyone’s patience. Gray’s previous film, The Lookalike was not spectacular, but it had a basic level of
competency and managed to be interesting in patches. So, what happened here?
Not recommended, Sugar Mountain opens
today (12/9) in New York, at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Alaskan cinema, Jason Momoa