27th Jul2014

Review Round-Up: ‘Adult World’ & ‘Dream Girl’

by Phil Wheat

Adult World

Stars: Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, John Cusack, Armando Riesco, Shannon Woodward, Chris Riggi, Scott Coffey, Darin Scott, Reed Birney, Catherine Lloyd Burns | Written by Andy Cochran | Directed by Scott Coffey


Helmed by actor-turned-director Scott Coffey, who many may recognise from 80s films such as Some Kind of Wonderful and Space Camp, Adult World is another in a long-line of American indie dramas – you know the type: the ones that mix witty dialogue and a hip soundtracks in the hopes of creating something loftier than the rest. This particular example follows Amy (Roberts), a naive college graduate who believes she’s destined to be a great poet, who begrudgingly accepts a job at a sex shop while she pursues a mentorship with her idol, reclusive writer Rat Billings (Cusack).

 Adult World shares a lot in common with 2009’s Post Grad, in so much as both films deal with young women trying to discover just who they really are after school. In this case Emma Roberts’ Amy is a top-class, straight A student who’s goal is to be a published poet like her idol Rat Billings. Of course wanting to be a poet and actually being a poet are two different things; as this film goes out of it’s way to demonstrate. But this is not just a film about finding oneself – nope, like all “good” Hollywood movies we can’t have an unhappy ending – and this film is no different. It seems finding oneself goes hand in hand with finding romance (see the aformentioned Post Grad, Juno and dozens of other female led-indie dramas) in even independent film making.

There’s nothing here that will set the world alight, but that doesn’t stop Adult World from being a diverting slice of indie Americana. Plus this is worth a watch for Armando Riesco’s superb performance as the cross-dressing Rubia.

Adult World is released on DVD on August 4th courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

Dream Girl

Stars: Skyler Caleb, Meg Cionni, Tim Daly, Jean Smart, Alison Haislip, Tara Erickson, Steve Moulton, Keith Coogan, Sam Daly, Wade Williams | Written by Skyler Caleb | Directed by Ben Shelton


Apparently dreamt up (literally) by actor-turned-writer Skyler Caleb – who, somehow, I remember from 2008’s horror flick Vlog – and originally released overseas under the title of Waking, Dream Girl follows a young man, Ben (Caleb), on the verge of marriage and career success, who meets a beautiful woman (Cionni) whom he discovers he can inexplicably connect with in his dreams.

Reminiscent of the likes of Ghost, Dream Girl blends fantasy and reality in its tale of love and destiny. I say blends, but the lines between the two are so blurred here, so much so in fact that you begin to question what, if anything, in this film is real. Is Ben really connecting with a girl in his dreams? Is his girlfriend/fiance Amy even real? Is dream girl Nadia just Ben’s way of dealing with a relationship he doesn’t want to be in?

And that’s the problem. It’s hard to tell where this films reality ends and the fantasy begins – meaning the story unravels way before it should and the film turns from fun fantasy flick turns into a dull and depressing emo-drama. One which, come the final third, you’ll have long since lost interest in. Oh, and if you thought about watching Dream Girl for the appearance of either Keith Coogan (Adventures in Babysitting) or G4’s Alison Haislip, don’t bother – both are wasted in small cameo roles!

Dream Girl is released on DVD on August 4th courtesy of Signature Entertainment


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