What to do once you’ve come and gone as interpreter in chief of your generation’s doom-and-gloom mindset? Why, do it over, with a dash of romantic uplift, for those oppressed by the thought of being headed for the wrong side of 30. To those of us who have trouble keeping abreast of accelerated time, it may come as a shock to learn that Canadian writer Douglas Coupland, whose 1991 novel, Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture, brought him overnight notoriety and made the term “McJob” a household word, actually turned 46 this year. But to judge by his first screenplay, for the new movie Everything’s Gone Green (trust me, it’s not a plea for environmental awareness), Coupland still feels like an addled 20-something adrift in an inhospitable world he can’t get a fix on.
If Generation X spoke aptly to Coupland and his cohort’s experience of a more uncertain and impermanent future than that faced by preceding postwar generations, the harmless, modestly charming Everything’s Gone Green feels like a slightly stale rehash of his earlier themes of diminishing opportunities in love and work and a surfeit of false choices in a high-tech world governed by shiny appearances. Paulo Costanzo, best known as a regular on the NBC sitcom Joey, has altogether too much bedroom twinkle in his eyes to persuade as the hapless Ryan, a vaporous Canadian slacker freshly dumped by his go-for-it girlfriend for being “not motivated to awaken the warrior within.” The warrior will awake as surely as upbeat endings warm the cockles of a distributor’s heart, but not before he undergoes a thorough shit-dip in the shady fleshpots of the new economy, where flashy sports cars and leather jackets are to be had for the small price of complete self-betrayal. Nothing is real, as director Paul Fox’s fun house–mirror camera angles constantly remind us, in this slippery world of tacky special-interest magazines, casual ?money laundering, unoccupied luxury condo towers and Internet porn. And no one, not even Ryan’s strenuously wacky parents, is incorruptible; not even Ming, the movie’s lone silver lining, a set-dresser who appears in the shapely form of Steph Song and whose job it is to lug around a fake palm tree to make Vancouver ?look like somewhere else for dopey action pictures. Armed with a solidifying sense of ?self and a knife-wielding Chinese granny of unimpeachable integrity, serene Ming brings Ryan to understand, after many a slip, that you can’t change the world, but you can change yourself. Not quite the call to arms a more ?highly politicized new generation of kids in ?their 20s might have in mind, but it’ll do, just about, for a Saturday night cuddled up with ?your DVD player.
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EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN | Directed by PAUL FOX | Written by DOUGLAS COUPLAND | Produced by CHRIS NANOS, ELIZABETH YAKE and HENRIK MEYER | Released by First Independent Pictures | Sunset 5 and One Colorado