Nate is a neurotic, recently laid-off investment banker. Joe is his unemployed, morally questionable, hustler roommate. Unable to find gainful employment (or pay for his impending wedding),... See full summary »
Ethan Hawke wrote the book THE HOTTEST STATE and then proceeded to write the screenplay, direct and act in it. Sometimes that combination works, but in this instance the whole project feels like a narcissistic self-indulgent autobiographical talky two hours. Hawke is respected enough among his peers that he was able to draw a fine cast together in an attempt to make this film work, but in the end it is pretty boring.
Young Texas actor William (Mark Webber) has moved to New York to make it big, and while he gets jobs, he feels as though he doesn't have a handle on relationships. When he meets the beautiful singer Sarah (Catalina Sandino Moreno) he falls in love but has no idea how to court his dream girl. Sarah is cautious about relationships, too, yet is attracted to William and consents to travel to Mexico to heat up their bonding. In Mexico they spend the greater part of their time consummating their love affair: the love scenes are fairly erotic, especially on the part of Moreno. Returning to their jobs in New York the two face problems in continuing their relationship. William's divorced parents (Laura Linney and Ethan Hawke) have their own demons that prevent their providing William with much consolation, and Sarah's mother (Sonia Braga) has a rather negative view of relationships. How the film finally winds down with dealing with William's whining and Sarah's resistance is all that is left of the lengthy diatribe.
Though Linney, Braga, Michelle Williams (in too short a role), and Moreno try to make this story tolerable, it is inherent in the concept that William (Ethan Hawke poorly disguised) is just too boring a guy to care about. Mark Webber is supposed to have the promise and charisma of a 'new Brando' (according to the hype), but he is flat in this film. The soundtrack is wearing and rarely takes a break for the dialog. Hawke can and has done better. Hopefully he has released his ego in this film and can move on. Grady Harp
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