Fate has turned an indifferent eye to the breakout cast of the “Twilight” movies.
The stars of that film series — Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner — haven’t been able to turn that success and name recognition with that fanbase into ascending big screen careers.
Stewart finds work in films big and indie, but you have to think any short list she’s on for under 30 leading women has as much to do with her off-screen notoriety. The more-notorious-than-talented Pattinson works steadily, mostly in indie pictures, but has yet to deliver a post-vampire hit.
Lautner? He’s been in a few no-budget flops, and had recurring parts on TV series such as “Scream Queens.”
“Run the Tide” is a small-budget star vehicle tailored to Lautner’s screen persona. He plays an earnest young man who has sacrificed his future to look after the younger brother their junkie mother left behind when she went to prison.
Rey (Lautner) is over Lola (Constance Zimmer) and her self-absorbed, addicted ways.
“I have nothing to say to her.”
Young Oliver (Nico Christou) is adamant about not missing visiting hours at the prison.
“But she has something to say to you. It’s important!”
We’ve seen that Lola is slow to embrace her guilt and her addiction, resisting writing a therapeutic letter to those she’s wronged as part of her group therapy. Rey doesn’t need to see that to know she’s bad news.
With Lola due to get out, Rey fears a return to form. And as they’re already living in a rundown trailer in sand-and-sagebrush Texas, with his convenience store job their only means of support, he’s not into giving her a second chance.
“What about me? Huh? I never even had a FIRST chance!”
Melodramatic devices throw him into the arms of his high school girlfriend (Johanna Braddy), a blonde beauty living large in San Francisco. She’s a reminder of the promise he once had. Maybe she’s a lifeline to a better tomorrow.
That’s his logic, anyway. Rey grabs Oliver for a road trip, a vacation like the ones he’s dreamed of as he posts pictures and drags magic markers across the map on his wall, picking places he wants to see.
And as he and Oliver have never been to the ocean, California, here they come.
The pitfalls on the trip are dull and conventional. The brothers fight, separate, have car trouble and are pursued by their mom and her latest boyfriend.
And Lautner trots out another sensitive character that he can’t really do justice to. He’s a flat actor, never quite able to bring spark to his roles or make us forget how hard he has to try just to be this “convincing” in a part.
For a road picture, “Run the Tide” lacks suspense or wit. The script by Rajiv Shah never heats up beyond tepid, and director Soham Mehta fails to give it energy through the performances, the staging or the editing.
It’s more scenic than dramatic. Sadly, the same could be said about Lautner, who never seems to deliver even as his window for “stardom” closes.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, language and a scene of sexuality.
Cast: Taylor Lautner, Constance Zimmer, Nico Christou, Johanna Braddy
Credits:Directed by Soham Mehta, script by Rajiv Shah. An eOne release.
Running time: 1:40