by M. Faust
Fans of The Natural, and I know there are lots of you out there, may be interested to know that the star, writer, and director of Rounds, Mark Atienza, got his (uncredited) start playing Roy Hobbs, Robert Redford’s character, as a child, in a scene presumably not shot in Buffalo.
That aside, there’s not a whole lot to recommend this earnest but plodding drama about friendship among a trio of Los Angelenos on a delayed path to maturity.
It takes a while to figure out who the main characters are, but our attention settles onto three friends who meet for barhopping and basketball games. Atienza plays Jensen, who doesn’t have to worry about money since getting a big financial settlement after his mother’s death. He’s free to spend his days surfing, his evenings playing in a band, and his nights in a series of one-nighters that are the envy of his friends.
Aspiring writer Terry (Eric Shepherd) has rather less luck with women. Since being dumped by his last girlfriend, he’s been crashing in Jensen’s apartment, where the perpetual string of women does nothing to improve his self-pitying rut.
Will (Craig Wilkening) is a model who lives with Julie (Kelli Nordhus), a photographer trying to make it in the advertising business. His life looks perfect to his friends, but he’s paralyzed by fear that it will all come crashing down.
The plot is fairly thin to begin with, as women come in and out of our main characters’ lives, usually passing more than one orbit. It feels padded out by too many undistinguished songs illustrating montages that add little to our understanding of the characters. And the ending is a mistake, injecting an element of bathos in a film that really hasn’t earned it.
Watch the trailer for Rounds
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