We Southerners do dearly delight in the aspirations, vexations and agitation of Outland actors taking their shots at Southern drawls.
We do. And after a lifetime of laughter and trepidation of the Foghorn — I say FOGHORN Leghornisms of the likes of Travolta and Keanu, Emma Stone, Dan Aykroyd and Anna Paquin among many, many others, I have taken a vow of tolerance.
If Michael Caine and Renee Zellweger and Nic Cage are going to treat Southern as Elizabethan English, well — I’m no longer takin’ the vapors over it. It’s funny and it is often meant to convey charm, politesse and chivalry.
So kudos for Rosario Dawson for not offending the ears, playing the title role in her normal streetwise city voice in the coming of age comedy “Krystal.”
But Nick Robinson, as the teen who falls for her, director William H. Macy, playing his stoner comparative religion professor Dad and Felicity Huffman as his drawling, long-suffering Mom? Many thanks for the chuckles, you all.
She Who Can Do No Errant Accent Kathy Bates, of course, gets a pass.
Here’s a tale of a lovesick teen, Taylor, who has achieved 18 virginal years of age despite suffering from PAT — Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. His heart races out of control on occasion. Such as when he persuses Pop’s porn as an impressionable seven-year-old.
“Lassitude,” the patriarch says, will do its job of “lassoing the priapic pony of your sexuality.” In time.
But at 18, the drop-dead gorgeous woman who meets him on the beach gives him another episode. The emergency room doc (William Fichtner at his drollest) isn’t worried. Krystal kind of freaks.
And when the lad gets out, professes his crush, she is not having it but is kind enough not to dismiss his fragile heart outright.
Taylor, “Tay Tay” to his smart alec artist/brother (Grant Gustin), chases her to AA meetings, where he fakes addiction. He’s not scared off by her testimony.
“I did the stripper thing. I did the hooker thing. I did the heroin thing.”
And he’s not totally bummed out that she has an irritable wheelchair bound son just two years younger than him (Jacob Latimore, funny). Her drawling, smiling, happy-go-thuggy ex (T.I., hilarious)? He’s another matter.
Macy, working from a seriously stereotypical script by Will Aldis, achieves a mild level of madcap, here and there. The world doesn’t need another movie where a matronly “Belle of the sunny Southern aphorism” (Bates) declares, “Some Southern boy has been readin’ too much FAULKNER!”
As if there WAS such a thing.
It’s quotable, as such movies inevitably endeavor to be.
Dawson is her sexy earthy self, Macy and his spouse Huffman have an effortless chemistry, and T.I., Bates, Latimore and Fichtner win laughs.
Young Robinson? Tolerable, as we say down here. The accent grates until he sort of forgets it. Putting all this voice-over narration (lazy filmmaking) on it merely highlights how he abandoned the drawl for much of the movie, only to rediscover it in post production.
Something about filming on location in South Carolina does that to Hollywood folk.
But never you mind all that. Let’s just say that this endeavor rises, heroically but effortlessly, to the level of middling without anybody breaking too much of a sweat.
It’ll barely last a minute in theaters, but maybe, with a mint julep or three, it’ll play passing fair on Netflix or some such.
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, drug use, some nudity and brief sexuality
Cast: Nick Robinson, Rosario Dawson, William H. Macy, Kathy Bates, Jacob Latimore, T.I., Felicity Huffman, William Fichtner
Credits:Directed by William H. Macy, script by Will Aldis. A Great Point release.
Running time: 1:33