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High school grad. Conner Layne is about to marry his first love, but when wedding plans fail, he goes solo on his honeymoon to Central America, finding adventure with a ragtag group of foreigners who attempt to cross the Darien Gap in record time. Written by
I recently saw this at the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Fesitval. Director/writer Thomas Whelan led a delegation from the film including co-writer Brian LaBelle and actors Christopher Masterson, Angelika Baran and Shalim Ortiz for an audience Q&A after the film. The audience at my screening seemed to really like this adventure-romance tale. Connor Layne (Christopehr Masterson) is a high school graduate, just graduated and accepted to Cal-Berkeley and on his wedding day, (that's right he's getting married at 18 and his fiancé isn't pregnant either) he suddenly and elaborately has a change in plans but decides to go off on a honeymoon of sorts anyway. A chance meeting in Nicaraugua with an adventurous couple Christopher (Johnny Messner) and his wife Darlene (Brooke Burns) finds him enlisted to take part in a grueling journey to set a record by crossing the 100 mile Darien Gap through a dangerous and primitive jungle in a jeep. Also in the crew are Shalim Ortiz as Carlos, Angelika Baran as Anna, James Duvall as Taylor and Jake Muxworthy as Justin. The adventure becomes a life-changing experience for the aspiring writer/adventurer Layne. Veteran actors Maria Conchita Alonso and Ernie Lively are wonderful in support roles as Layne's parents. The entire cast is good and it is beautifully photographed by cinematographer Lawson Derning. You have to suspend belief in the implausibilities and many holes in the story and 28 year old former Malcom in the Middle star Masterson seems a little worldly and long in the tooth for an 18 year old but that didn't stop people from enjoying it and Whelan is already thinking sequel. I spoke privately with Whelan after the Q&A and I brought up several things about the story that I didn't buy, all of which he was well aware of and was a real good sport and I wasn't offending him at all. The seven principal actors are a good cast and it's a feel-good kind of story but I can only muster up a 7 out of 10.
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