Northwood Pie (2020)
It's hard to figure out who the target audience for indie Northwood Pie is. For much of the film, it seems it might be aimed at some not-very-bright slackers.
But as the end approaches, it opens its theme to a wider, more universal audience. Northwood Pie is a slice of day-old American Graffiti (1973).
Of course, it's not of the classic's caliber. It has nothing like the original's terrific music - director Salahi has a preference for loud, punchy music. But there are parallels with the original. It's the story of a bunch of young adults stuck in their present, putting off their embarking on the future.
It begins when Crispin (Todd Fnaak) gets his first job at a rundown pizza shop. He seems to share experience with other Community College students, but that setting never appears. He hangs around with a motley bunch of friends - self-absorbed nonentities.
Although screenplay credit is shared by Fnaak and director Jay Salahi, much of the dialogue seems improvised. That often is a curse of indie films.
The first word spoken in the film is "fuck," which not the best starting point for promising dialogue. And much of the dialogue simply lacks credibility. One guy says, "You don't like Harry Potter. You lost your right to speak." In what world?
The saving grace is when Crispin and fellow worker Sierra (Annika Foster) become friends. They give the film a glint of sensitivity and naturalness. Their conversations lift the film, but unfortunately the other characters speak, too.
Actor Todd Rank is more Rick Moranis than Richard Drefuss, but he has an amiable quality. Annika Foster is likeable as his smart friend.
Northwood Pie may seem warmed over, but Annika Foster adds some appropriate heat.