“Racing Colt” begins as a promising story of a onetime movie star who gets a chance at a comeback, but devolves into a glum and unpleasant tale of narcissism, addiction and mental illness.
Five years after a stint in rehab, Colt Racer (David Atkinson), best known for his iconic role in a hit action-film trilogy, is about to star in an indie picture about Ernest Hemingway. But it’s up to Colt’s personal assistant, Manny (Toby Meuli), a lifelong friend and fan whose late father was Colt’s stunt double, to keep the notorious bad boy in line — and off booze and drugs — for the entire shoot.
Shades of “My Favorite Year,” you say? If only.
The screenplay by Scott Damian, who produced and directed with Heather Provost, paints Colt (née Arnold) as such an irredeemable jerk — homophobic, sexist, cavalier, vindictive — that we have no stake or interest in his success.
As for Manny, saddled here with a haunted childhood (those flashbacks are unneeded), a wife with cancer and an 11th-hour bit of life-changing news, the aspiring actor may mean well but never proves a vibrant or compelling enough anchor.
There’s some well-crafted dialogue and decent acting, including from Joseph R. Sicari as a besieged producer. But this overly talky and stagey film, which takes place mostly in Colt’s hotel room and trailer — and frustratingly off-set — lacks the requisite catharsis and charisma to sufficiently engage.
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Playing: Starts June 22, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood