DREAMLAND (Jason Matzner). 88 minutes. Opens Monday (September 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 107. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Dreamland is a warm-hearted but clumsy coming-of-age movie starring Agnes Bruckner (24) and Kelli Garner (Faith Domergue in The Aviator) as teenage best friends falling out over a boy ( Justin Long ) in a decrepit New Mexico trailer park where everybody's physically or emotionally handicapped.
Bruckner does a good job as the bright, sensitive kid who ought to get out, but Garner gets the plum role as the best friend, a bubbly blond with multiple sclerosis. She downplays the pathos and pumps up the teenage energy to create a funny, believable character. As the boy, Long brings little but boyish charm to the role.
The scenery -- big sky and desert -- is highly watchable, and there are a few compelling images involving a beehive and an electric fence. But the pacing is needlessly slow, the story stops dead a couple of times, and the plot turns can be seen coming a mile away. Worse, the story arranges matters to make the heroine's choices painlessly easy when they should be tough.