A young man hitchhikes through Central America until he is faced with crossing an 80-mile gigantic swamp called the Darien Gap. This comedy adventure from Brad Anderson was a Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance.
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Erin is a nurse and her longtime boyfriend has dumped her. Her mother Piper places a personal ad for her. Meanwhile the film follows the life of Alan, a volunteer at a local aquarium who dreams of becoming a marine biologist. Will their paths cross? Written by
"Next Stop Wonderland" is a lovely, very underrated indie romantic comedy, co-written and directed by Brad Anderson ("Happy Accidents", "The Machinist"). The always wonderful Hope Davis stars as Erin, a nurse from Boston who's dumped by her boyfriend, Sean (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Her liberal mother (Holland Taylor) places a personal ad for her in the paper (without Erin's consent). Initially appalled by the idea, Erin's life starts to change when she decides to meet the guys who answer the ad.
"Next Stop Wonderland" gets away from stupid Hollywood clichés, and is romantic without being corny. Anderson's and Lyn Vaus's witty script has some amazing dialogue, and Hope Davis brings the right emotional depth/low-key humor to her character. This movie is similar to the recent "Broken English" (starring another indie goddess, Parker Posey), only better. Honduran actor José Zuniga plays a Brazilian guy (hopeless romantic or prick?), speaking a very mannered Portuguese (more like some kind of "portuñol", a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish) that doesn't beguile the most naïve Portuguese speaker - which is very annoying for native Brazilians, specially considering that there are so many talented Brazilian actors out there that would've fitted the part. Of course I'm not saying foreign people can't play someone of a different nationality, but when the actor can't pull a decent accent, that's a problem. Anyway, that's a minor flaw, and "Next Stop Wonderland" is definitely an adorable flick. The soundtrack, full of classic Brazilian bossas (a rarity in American movies) is a plus, and the perfect complement to the movie's bittersweet atmosphere. 8.5/10 in my books.
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