Love may not be enough for the characters in Stateside, a movie that takes a long time in getting started and remains fairly inert once it gets moving. Writer/director Reverge Anselmo (Lover's Prayer, The Outfitters) based the film on actual events, presumably some of which are autobiographical. But this tale about two mismatched people who may be truly in love is just not that interesting. The characters are not that interesting either. Anselmo provides a long set-up and lots of context, too much for what eventually happens. The two young people are Mark Deloach (Jonathan Tucker, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Deep End) and Dori Lawrence (Rachael Leigh Cook, Texas Rangers, Josie and the Pussycats), two people who come from completely different worlds.

Lawrence in a rising actor and lead singer in a band, until schizophrenia sidelines her aspirations for success. She berates her audiences between songs, and recites other lines in scenes, and soon ends up in an institution. Deloach is the privileged son of a rich family who ends up in the Marines. A night of reckless joyriding injured his friend Sue Dubois (Agnes Bruckner, Murder by Numbers, Blue Car), who ends up as Lawrence's roommate. In the Marines, Deloach slowly gets his life back together under the draconian rule of SDI Skeer (Val Kilmer, Spartan, The Missing). On a visit to Dubois, he meets Lawrence, and doesn't see her again until he is back home on break.

They intrigue each other because they are so different than what each is used to. Deloach wants somebody to write to and care about, and sees Lawrence as this person. She needs a lot of help, and he wants to be the person to provide it. Lawrence is drawn to Deloach's unending compassion and belief in the fact that she will get better. Of course everybody around them thinks they are both crazy. Deloach fails to realize the effect that his affection has on Lawrence, who does not handle his frequent absences well. Every time he leaves her condition worsens.

That's really all there is to the movie. Anselmo is not able to convey a great sense of love or belonging between Lawrence and Deloach because Deloach's motivations seem only to stave off his loneliness. What is so special about Lawrence? Everything degenerates to the wrong side of the fence argument, that the two are too different to be right for each other. Tucker's performance is a little wooden, and Cook is spacy as her character requires. There are a surprising number of high caliber actors in smaller roles, which begs the question - what exactly are they doing here?

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and underage drinking.

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