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Review: 'Detonator' fails to ignite

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Nostalgia is a legal but dangerous substance in "Detonator," a repetitive, sluggishly paced nocturnal rumination on why we bother reuniting with old friends we purposefully left behind.

Suburban dad Sully (Lawrence Michael Levine) and wastrel bachelor Mick (Benjamin Ellis Fine) used to play in a punk band called Detonator, back when "the music was real," according to Mick. Their third bandmate, a female drummer who has gone on to solo success, is Sully's ex and Mick's obsession.

Years after the band break-up, the two former pals reunite for a night of "you've changed so much, you haven't changed at all" — all just a prelude for Mick to ask one last preposterous favor of his exhausted buddy.

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Mick is just a pathetic pest, but Sully is a potentially engaging portrait of Gen X in middle age: apathetic, detached, resigned to small satisfactions. He's used to passive aggression as a way of life, thanks to wife Karen (Dawn L. Hall), though it's clear Sully isn't as reliable a husband or father as he could be.

In this era of nostalgic filmmaking, where superheroes and reboots have taken over the multiplex, writer-directors Damon Maulucci and Keir Politz are virtual iconoclasts for so resolutely resisting the past. But because Sully's adventure is largely one of abstention, his steady refusals have all the dramatic heft of an anti-drug PSA.

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"Detonator"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also available on VOD.

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