Instead of a film full of bikini clad women, which has been John Stockwell's ('Blue Crush' and 'Into the Blue' ) calling card for the past few years, 'Middle of Nowhere' features fully clothed girls dealing with a deadbeat mother who steals from their inheritance. While this is happening, Dorian (Anton Yelchin, 'Star Trek' ) is coming to blows with his rich parents. Oh and we also meet another rich kid who lives in a gated community and is utterly and completely sick of being rich. Just once I'd like to see a movie with rich kids from the suburbs who actually like being rich.
Dorian is a troubled young man who apparently tries to kidnap his family's maid and drive her to Fort Lauderdale. To be honest, the scene that gets Dorian in trouble made absolutely no sense to me! Not a good sign. Dorian is soon shipped off to live with his strict uncle and work as a lifeguard at the local water park.
Grace (Eva Amurri, 'Californication') is also an employee at the water park. She's dealing with her mother, who cares more about putting Grace's 15 year-old sister through modeling school than she does about more immediate concerns like family finances. Grace can't get a loan from school because her mother has taken out credit cards in her name and thereby blessed her with horrible credit.
As you may have guessed, Grace and Dorian meet up, discuss their problems, and work out a solution. They'll sell pot to the local townsfolk. In the context of the story, this decision makes absolutely zero sense, but Stockwell doesn't seem to care.
What follows is a dreadfully overly dramatic mess that has Dorian flip-flopping on whether he wants to be a drug dealer, a good son, or just find his birth mom (he's adopted). Grace is dealing with a myriad of problems herself, such as her loser mother, her prissy sister, the fact that she's going to get kicked out of college, and whether or not to fall in love with Dorian.
Yelchin is a fine young actor, and he does what he can with the dismal material he's given here. He's got great energy, which he showed in 'Star Trek,' and in the lesser known 'Charlie Barlett.' Amurri also tries her best, but she can't quite seem to figure out how to play the part of the leading lady (instead of just the hot girl who seduces David Duchovny in 'Californication').
Ultimately, Director Stockwell ('Crazy/Beautiful') splits 'Middle of Nowhere' into a movie with dozens of different directions, but the storylines eventually end up in the middle of nowhere. The title is all too apt.
'Middle of Nowhere' sports a 1080p/AVC encoded image that is middling at best.
Soft shots dominate much of the runtime, while source noise runs rampant. The film fares better in brightly lit scenes, for example the water park sequences are very strong. Nighttime scenes are also solid, but soft shots ruin much of the picture when the scene grow darker – the source noise is also more noticeable when black is the dominate color on screen. Colors are strongly enhanced, with bright blues, greens, and reds. Skin tones seem natural looking. Fine detail leaves a little to be desired, but gives us some good looking close-up facial detail.
Overall, this is on OK transfer, but it's not without its problem to be sure.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation for 'Middle of Nowhere' is just about as average as audio presentations come.
Dialogue heavy, the movie is mainly focused up front, with clear intelligible dialogue. Scenes involving lots of people and crowded places, like the water park, lack the kind of surround sound that it seems should be engulfing the listener. Instead the surrounds are left with flat sounding ambience that feels forced and unnatural. LFE is also muted for much of the movie except when the obligatory dance music is blasted at parties.
Stockwell's 'Middle of Nowhere' is a mess. While movies like 'Into the Blue' don't fare much better than this, they do have their selling points. Unfortunately, this film definitely proves dramatic fodder isn't always his strong suit (har har). Stick to the bikinis man! The video on this Blu-ray is about average while the audio is forgettable. Overall, this is quite skippable. I really wanted to like this one, but in the end it's just formulaic and dull.