Coming-of-age comedy isn't all that Moving

Moving Mcallister

on September 14, 2007 by Chad Greene
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After watching Moving McAllister , one wonders if—deep down—star Ben Gourley doesn't really like himself all that much. Gourley, who also wrote the screenplay, subjects himself to all manner of indignities in this indie comedy: He's repeatedly drugged against his will, held at knifepoint by a hillbilly, sandwiched between a couple of would-be swingers in an unchlorinated hot tub. And to top it all off, he locks himself in a Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome -style combat cage to be knocked out by Jon Heder, who—horror of horrors—is clad only in an ill-fitting wrestling singlet.

The ostensible point of all this is to loosen up his character, an anal overachiever named Rick Robinson, enough to blow off the bar exam, take off his Clark Kent glasses and fall in love with the free-spirited niece (Mila Kunis) of Maxwell McAllister (Rutger Hauer), an imperious partner at the Miami firm where the law-school valedictorian is interning. Pegging Rick as acceptably “boring, predictable—a real kiss-ass guy,” McAllister says simply, “I'm moving a few things tomorrow. I could use a hand.” When Rick arrives at McAllister's mansion, however, he finds only $300 in cash and written instructions to rent a truck and pick up the aspiring actress niece, Michelle, in Savannah, Ga., and move her cross-country to Los Angeles—a task Rick grudgingly accepts even though he is scheduled to take the bar exam in five days.

In practice, however, nothing that transpires in this coming-of-age comedy is all that Moving . This is the kind of indie where each character is given a perfunctory quirk or two—Michelle, for instance, is devoted to her pet pig and snaps Polaroid pictures of everyone and everything—instead of an actual personality, and the plot is exactly what McAllister accuses Rick of being: “boring, predictable.”

The final nail in the coffin, however, was casting Heder—a terribly limited talent who, judging by everything he's done since Napoleon Dynamite , had exactly one funny character in him—as a hitchhiker who spits out his bright blue retainer to spout mumble-mouthed mumbo jumbo about being a “shaman of the Native American church” on a quest to find his “true body.” Not exactly a Dynamite idea.
Distributor: First Independent
Cast: Ben Gourley, Mila Kunis, Jon Heder, Hubbel Palmer and Rutger Hauer
Director: Andrew Black
Screenwriter: Ben Gourley
Producers: Ben Gourley, Jason Faller and Kynan Griffin
Genre: Comedy
Time: 89 min.
Release Date: September 14, 2007 ltd.
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