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Review: Lake Tahoe

Tired tropes
By GERALD PEARY  |  June 3, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars

VIDEO: The trailer for Lake Tahoe

It's a tough time for Mexican teen Juan (Diego Cataño): his dad died recently, his mom is angry and depressed, and his younger sister is needy and lonely. And it gets worse when he smashes the family car (the film's title comes from a tourist sticker on it) and faces a long day of getting someone in his slow-moving town to fix it.

Filmmaker Fernando Eimbcke relies too much on the tired tropes of international arthouse cinema: long, long takes and cuts to black; a deadpan, passive, monosyllabic protagonist; a mosquito bite of a story.

At least the semi-comatose narrative is enlivened by the secondary characters; these include a punk-singing, cigarette-puffing teenage single mom who's the sole employee of an auto-parts store and a bike-riding auto mechanic who swears by martial-arts movies and pithy quotes from Bruce Lee.

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