Nice acting, nice direction with a poor script.

by Martin Hafer

Barefoot is a very frustrating film to watch.  The acting is very nice, the direction very good as well and the film has a lovely soundtrack.  So it has everything you’d want in a rom-com…except for an intelligent and well-written script.  Rarely have I seen a film like this—where everything was so good and the script was so darn awful.  It’s a shame, as the folk in this film deserve more … as do the audience.

Scott Speedman stars as Jay–a very, very, very irresponsible and unlikable guy.  Sure, he’s handsome but it’s hard to care about any leading character in a romantic film who is a thief, loves to spend all his time gambling and hanging out in strip clubs, kidnaps a mental patient and skips out on probation.    He’s in trouble because he owes bookies a lot of money and they’re threatening his life.

Directed by
Andrew Fleming
Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman, J.K. Simmons
Release Date
Out Now
Martin’s Grade: D

Because he’s not a very nice person, no one will give him money and he’s desperate.  Ultimately, he comes up with a plan so stupid, unfunny and bizarre that I just couldn’t believe the film.  You see, he also works as a janitor in a mental hospital.  And, when a cute mental patient named Daisy (Evan Rachel Ward) sneaks out of the hospital to follow Jay*, he decides to take her across the country to his brother’s wedding.  Why?  Because he wants to convince his family he’s no longer irresponsible and has a good job and a steady girlfriend.  Unfortunately, she is bizarre and is much like bringing a feral child into civilization.  With very few social skills and little understanding of the real world, his highly illegal and insane plan seems preposterous.  It’s also apparently supposed to be funny…which it never really is.

After convincing everyone but Jay’s mother that Daisy is nuts, Jay’s plan falls apart.  So what does he do?  He steals his father’s beautiful classic motor home and goes on a cross-country road trip.  Now, the motor home looks like it was made in the 1950s and is turquoise, yet for a long time he’s able to elude the police–even during a high-speed chase!  Yet, because the film is supposed to be a rom-com, by the end of the film everything just magically works out and they live happily ever after.  Now think about it, if anyone (even someone not as screwed up as Jay) kidnaps a woman, steals a motor home, jumps probation and causes half the police in Texas to pursue him, you would never, ever expect a happy ending…just a trip to prison (though, I suppose, it could lead to romance…but that’s another film I suppose).

The bottom line is that the actors were actually very good in their roles.  Additionally, the film was very competently directed—as the film looked very nice and set a lovely mood.  But with such an awful script, how can you possibly make a decent film?!  This is an annoying film.  It has many nice elements but is just terrible in spite of this.  You and your date could certainly find a movie better than this for your date night–it would be hard not to!

*How did Daisy escape?  She just walked out the door and it magically let her go!  No alarms, no security detail in pursuit…nothing!