Picks and Pans Review: Gerry
Two guys named Gerry (Damon and Affleck, who is Ben's younger brother) set out for a quick hike on a trail in a nameless state park, take a wrong turn and end up getting lost in the desert. They tramp, tramp, tramp across endless expanses of sand for several days, desultorily yakking away about computer games and other inane topics and squabbling about which way to go. For all we actually learn about the pair, these seemingly brainless slackers might as well be waiting for Godot, but without as many laughs as one finds in Samuel Beckett's classic play.
Gerry, directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and largely improvised by Damon and Affleck, is the sort of art house picture that makes even art house fans yawn. Sure, it features one gorgeous vista after another of majestic natural scenery (the film was shot in California's Death Valley and in Argentina), but there's a little thing called narrative—call me old-fashioned—that one wants when watching a movie. This just proves again that men shouldn't be afraid to ask for directions. (R)
BOTTOM LINE: Arid as its desert setting