Overt femininity is sometimes just a wall to keep outsiders from peering in. That's certainly the case for "Somewhere Slow's" Anna (Jessalyn Gilsig), who looks like Avon Barbie, sounds like Minnie Mouse and orders a Diet Coke and small fries like a lady — though she makes sure the three cheeseburgers she ordered with them come back up before she's left the restaurant.
Anna's exhaustion from keeping up appearances reveals itself through wrinkles, pimples and blemishes, and her attempts to cover them up give her a deathly, chalky pallor.
After being laid off from her cosmetics sales job, Anna flees her dull husband (a wasted David Costabile) and wanders along the Eastern seaboard. She's so frail she needs help retrieving a bag of chips from a vending machine — luckily, a teenage Mormon drifter who goes by the name of Danny (Graham Patrick Martin) is eager to assist.
Writer-director Jeremy O'Keefe follows the lonely pair as they travel to Anna's childhood home and eventually find solace in each other's arms, if only because their isolation from the world fosters a brief sense of belonging. Their need to retreat finds lovely expression in an imaginary tea party under a netted blanket, their exhilarated freedom giving way to giggles.
Frequently affecting and mordantly funny, "Somewhere Slow" acquits Gilsig as a gifted actress and a producer with great taste. Anna and Danny's unstable romance isn't written in the stars — not that they could ever envision such happiness for themselves.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also available as VOD on Tuesday.