Still struggling to find his place in a post-"Twilight" universe, likable Taylor Lautner tries a family drama on for size, but the bland, incessantly mopey "Run the Tide" will make you pine for his pouty Jacob the werewolf days.
Lautner plays Rey, a quietly resentful gas station employee who has had to care for his younger half-brother, Oliver (newcomer Nico Christou), in a desert trailer park while their drug addict mother (Constance Zimmer) serves a six-year prison term.
Just before her release, Rey plans an escape route of a road trip to Santa Cruz with his little bro in tow in search of a fresh start, but just like the rest of his broken family, he's finding it difficult to put the past in the past.
It's a familiar scenario, but one that in the right hands could still mine some potency.
In his first feature outing, director Soham Mehta overplays the significance of virtually every aspect of Rajiv Shah's script, no matter how minor, with painfully slow pans and needlessly lingering establishing shots.
But while it's clearly evident that the camera likes Lautner, his meaningfully furrowed brow takes him only so far in this dreary slog.
You know there's a problem when the delicate acoustic guitar on the soundtrack keeps threatening to drown out all the wispily-delivered line exchanges.
'Run the Tide'
MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic content, language and a scene of sexuality.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes