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Review: Blank stares in ‘Generation Um...’

Review: Blank stares in ‘Generation Um...’
A scene from “Generation Um...”
(Handout)

At 48, Keanu Reeves is twice the age of his nubile costar Adelaide Clemens in “Generation Um...” and the generation gap might explain why they spend the film staring at each other blankly. Reeves plays John, a driver for an escort service who works nights shuttling Mia (Clemens), a placid baby-doll blond, and her raging cokehead partner, Violet (Bojana Novakovic, often pants-less).

The women aren’t John’s friends, exactly — they alternate between pestering him and pleasuring him in a grotty bathroom, both of which make writer-director Mark Mann’s feature debut sound more exciting than it is. After an inert first act in which John eats cupcakes and watches strangers, he finally leaps to action by stealing a video camera.

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Alas, like Mann, John is endlessly fascinated by recording squirrels and shadows and the two sulky, young prostitutes as they drink, make abrupt and painful confessions, and then look at each other for long pauses.

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If we were as high as Violet, “Generation Um...” could play like a satirical jab at mumblecore devotees who think all a film needs is secrets, atmosphere and nudity. Occasionally, Novakovic raises the volume by screaming and booty dancing. Yet despite her furious efforts to inject life into Mann’s disaffected hipster ennui, neither the film, nor the film within the film, hold our attention. Bummer, Keanu.

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“Generation Um...” Rated R for strong sexual content, drug use and language. Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. Playing: At Laemme NoHo 7.

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