When the Mason family moves to idyllic Palos Verdes, Calif., the father, Phil, loves it but the mother, Sandy, feels out of place among the fake tans and tennis skirts. Phil and Sandy's daughter, Medina, is a loner and outcast at school, while her charismatic brother, Jim, is effortlessly popular. When Medina and Jim take up surfing, they must prove their right to share the waves with the tough Bayboys gang that monopolizes their stretch of beach.
Strong performances from the core cast save this slow-moving and moody family affair from being irredeemably trite. You've seen this film before, but maybe not this cut of it. Echoing the aesthetic tone and much of the slower interstitial pacing of the 90s thriller Point Break, this coming of age divorce melodrama shines light on the emptiness of the idealised American Dream, showing that money most certainly does not always add richness to one's life. Shadows of evolving tribal bonds flicker on the walls - family, friends, allies, enemies. Who is which? Is blood thicker than water? Is loyalty more important than happiness? Can a morality tale masquerade as a post-modern narrative? Whatever the case may be, Palos Verdes somehow keeps the action, and the answers to these questions, somewhat detached and at arm's length. Despite the decent cast, none of the characters, through all their travails, are sufficiently compelling to be celebrated or mourned.
Not great, but not bad. Worth a watch if you are hard up for something to fill 90 minutes.
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