"Do You Think This Is What I Thought Happiness Was Gonna Be?"
Bobby and Rose are each leading dead-end lives in Los Angeles. He works in a gas station, she is a young stay-at-home mom. They team up and decide to live out a few fantasies, the major one being a carefree journey to Hawaii. Their goal is never reached. Bobby and Rose wander aimlessly around southern California and the Mexican border, making casual acquaintances and encountering casual violence. The dream starts to go wrong almost from the very start, and the young lovers are left with something less than an idyll.
This is a road movie in the great American tradition, a poetic kaleidoscope of images of Americana - radio music merging with advertising hoardings and neon signs in a dreamy, meaningless pot-pourri of LA, a sort of Metro-Goldwyn-melange. For all the colour and style, appearance and reality are at odds. Rose has her fantasy, but her reality is that she has committed herself to a two-bit punk. Under the surface of the stream of images, we see the jagged edges of society's faultlines ... auto wrecks and liquor store hold-ups.
Bobby inhabits a live-now-pay-later youth fantasy of pool games against chicano hoods, hotrod races and getting chased by the cops. The trouble is, Bobby is running on empty and the fantasy cannot last.
On their travels, Bobby and Rose meet a Texan couple, the irrepressible Buford (if only we could have seen more of him!) and the dim but good-natured Donna Sue, played by Tim McIntire and Leigh French. Buford is an amusing drinking-buddy whose presence in any bar guarantees at least one outrageous incident, and Donna Sue is all heart, but their relentless cheerfulness becomes claustrophobic, especially for Rose.
Paul Le Mat as Bobby is appropriately good-looking and vacuous. Diane Hull invests Rose with a little more substance. The story of their spontaneous elopement is, in truth, the tale of Rose's tragedy.
Verdict - Serviceable road movie which makes effective use of contemporary soundtrack.
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