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A MARINE STORY

A MARINE STORY More topical — thanks to the recent federal court ruling against Don't Ask Don't Tell — than it is dramatic, A Marine Story has its heroine return home under circumstances mysterious only to her small-town friends. Why ex-major Alexandra (Dreya Weber) has been booted from the Marines is certainly easy for us to guess, despite the wedding ring. She's a hard-bodied, bar-brawling, take-no-shit-from-men kind of gal. For two decades, the military was her life, until it suddenly turned against her. (Flashbacks reveal the insinuation, inevitable investigation and discharge.) When not binge-drinking to ease the pain, Alex begins mentoring tall, lithe, 20-year-old Saffron (Paris P. Pickard), who's hoping to join the military. "Give me total submission," Alex demands — but, sorry, it's not that kind of movie. Their workouts naturally raise rumors in this California hick town, where a jolly game of paintball is Alex's chief diversion from prejudice. Add a stalker/blackmailer to the mix, along with some pesky meth heads whom she must confront, and the movie becomes a lesbian amalgam of Walking Tall and Billy Jack. Relentlessly clumsy and predictable, A Marine Story is set in late 2008, just as a new political breeze is blowing. But its abrupt, wishful postscript is still just a fairy tale. (Brian Miller) (Sunset 5)