The Young Unknowns

For its duration, it is painfully obvious that The Young Unknowns has its roots on the stage. It was originally Magic Afternoon by Wolfgang Bauer, and, as adapted to the screen by Catherine Jelski, never amounts to anything more than an acting exercise trying to establish indie cred. To do this, it needs to do certain things that Jelski thinks prove that its cool; it takes place over the course of twenty-four hours, it has lots of drugs, alcohol and discussions it feels are important (but aren't), and lots of opportunities for its actors to show their range of emotions, without actually doing much else. So over the course of the movie, nearly nothing happens. It is only in the third act that things come together and a coherence emerges, but it is not worth waiting for.

Everything takes place in Charlie's (Devon Gummersall, Dick, Seven and a Match) huge house. He is the product of a broken marriage, something that still looms large over him. His mother drinks, and is somewhere in Vermont, and his father is a director off in Europe. He keeps a phone line open so that if his father calls, he can answer. Charlie is also an aspiring director, and he just finished a spec spot. His relationship with his girlfriend Paloma (Arly Jover, Impostor, Fish in a Barrel) is on the rocks, and from what people see in the film it's hard to see what is keeping her there. Charlie berates her, yells at her, and is generally an ass towards her.

Charlie's friend Joe (Eion Bailey, Almost Famous, Band of Brothers) arrives with aspiring model Cassandra (Leslie Bibb, See Spot Run, The Skulls). Joe is also a commercial director. His current goal is bedding Cassandra, who claims she has a boyfriend, but hangs around because of the flowing alcohol and drugs. The four of them are in the house, arguing, laughing, drinking, and doing drugs. This is most of the film. Things get out of control, calm down, then get out of control again.

Gummersall, Bailey, Jover, and Bibb basically practice different emotions. Their characters are all uninteresting. They are rich, spoiled young adults, and watching them is dull. Charlie is not a sympathetic character. He is a jerk. However, he is not enough of a jerk to make him compelling to watch. It is just enough to make the viewer want to leave. This makes the Paloma character seem sort of stupid. There is no context as to why the two like each other, so nobody can relate to her reluctance to leave. Bibb comes off the best, in a role that can be summed up as "coke whore."

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 27 minutes, Not Rated but contains, language, drug use, and some violence, an easy R.

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