The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Lost in the Sun

Lost in the Sun is the latest in a string of movies about drifter criminals who secretly have a soft spot inside that's triggered by a child. The film, written and directed by Trey Nelson, strives for the kind of poignancy that Jeff Nichols' Mud had, and the kind of suspense that Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World possessed. But this kind of thing has been done before, and with nothing new to bring to the table, Lost in the Sun ends up a monotonous bore.

Josh Wiggins (Max) plays Louis, a teenager whose single mother has just died. He's supposed to hop a bus to his grandparents' house in another state, but then a stranger named John (Josh Duhamel) - who claims to have known Louis's mom - appears out of nowhere and offers to drive him. The boy accepts the ride. It turns out that John is deeply in debt. He has a habit of robbing stores and banks to get some much-needed cash. Appalled at first, Louis ends up becoming involved in these robberies and connecting with John.

Lost in the Sun does a poor job of conveying the bond that's supposed to be developing between its two main characters, and since that's ostensibly the center of the story, everything falls apart. Never once is it credible that Louis would be influenced by John. The dialogue is so flat and the situations they find themselves in (rob store, flee, rob store, flee) are so repetitive that their growing connection feels entirely forced by the screenplay. At no point does it come off as authentic. This means that watching Lost in the Sun quickly becomes arduous. You don't get wrapped up in the plot, because events don't transpire in a manner that entices you to pay attention or become emotionally engaged. Even worse, the movie waits until late in the game to tell us something about John that any observant viewer will figure out in the first ten minutes - and it expects us to be surprised by the revelation. Ninety minutes is a long time to spend watching a film tread the same ground over and over, only to finally reveal something you've seen coming all along.

In addition to being dramatically limp, Lost in the Sun is hampered by weak performances. Josh Duhamel is not exactly a menacing actor, and he proves a poor choice to play John. Whereas in Mud, Matthew McConaughey had an air of danger, Duhamel seems so desperate to be liked that he completely blunts the character's edge. We know John is a softie almost from the get-go, and that makes it apparent that Louis is never actually in harm's way around him. Josh Wiggins, meanwhile, is saddled with a wildly underwritten role, which does him no favors. Trey Nelson doesn't seem to understand how to write a child's role, so the young actor is largely forced to stand around in wide-eyed bewilderment.

Lost in the Sun clearly thinks it's saying something profound with these two damaged characters, but what it says has been said before, many times, in much better pictures. Without engaging performances to keep you hooked, the end result is a movie devoid of entertainment.

But say, have you seen Mud? It's pretty great.

( 1/2 out of four)

Lost in the Sun is unrated, but contains language and violence. The running time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.

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