Remember Keanu Reeves? He used to be a popular actor who made his name in basically every film genre. From the Bill and Ted movies to Speed to The Matrix, the man was certainly a bankable film star. Unfortunately, in the last decade or so, he has experienced something of a decline in the quality of his roles. The worst came in 2008 with the dismal The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. Mr. Reeves had made a career relying on his wooden persona but this was just the worst. Similar criticism can be said for Generation Um..., an independent cinematic mess and his latest debacle now out in a limited theatrical release and on Video on demand (VOD).
Generation Um... is a rather simple story focusing on three lost souls. John (Keanu Reeves) is a man in his 40s who never smiles and seems to be in a perpetual state of loneliness. His flat affect is soothed however by the presence of two prostitutes whom he drives around Manhattan on jobs. Mia (Adelaide Clemens) and Violet (Bojana Novakovic) are the two women in John’s life and who also appear to be his only friends. The film follows these three individuals around town in a pointless attempt to tell an interesting story. The story isn’t interesting and the audience is left scratching their heads, waiting for the point to come.
In the 90s, Keanu Reeves was on fire. He was an attractive leading man who starred in two of the action genre’s greatest films. Speed and The Matrix catapulted Reeves to super stardom. Then again, any tall, good-looking actor could have snagged that leading role status. Fast-forward to today and you have Generation Um..., an unnecessary feature-length snooze fest which is both boring and pointless.
Indie films pride themselves on being gritty, real and honest. They have low budgets, strong performances and feel as though they are really happening. Generation Um... tries very hard to follow in previous indies’ footsteps but the results are just laughably bad. The film’s initial attraction was the appearance of Reeves as the main lead but unfortunately, his presence here is wasted and downright lame.
The film’s other two stars actually manage to elevate the film though not very far past the first floor. They are Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Bojana Novakovic (Devil, Edge of Darkness). These two beauties are the main highlight of Generation Um... They are sexy and smart and provide the film with interesting character personalities. They play off of Reeves and provide for him some much needed stimulation.
The shaky camerawork and the New York City backdrop have been done many times before but hey, what better backdrop is there than the streets of Manhattan. Reeves spends the film walking the sidewalks and driving the streets. His journey throughout the film is to find his soul and it’s questionable if he ever does find it. Mia and Violet seem to be the only worthwhile aspects in his life.
Clocking in at a painful 97 minutes, Generation Um... should have been um... a lot shorter. There are scenes in the film that drag and moments that will make you cringe. While attending a screening in New York, a number of audience members actually got out of their seats and left. The film was that bad, however this reviewer stayed and waited for the film to get better. Sadly, it didn’t and the same pointless and meandering drivel continued to get projected on the screen.
Hopefully, Adelaide Clemens and Bojana Novakovic will continue to star in feature films because they are absolutely wonderful. They each possess the perfect combination of brains and beauty and are very talented. Reeves on the other hand has gone downhill and the charm he possessed in the 90s is sadly, nowhere to be seen. Generation Um... isn’t very good but it may be worth your time if you want to see two strong performances from Clemens and Novakovic.
"Generation Um..." opens May 3, 2013 and is rated R. Drama. Written and directed by Mark Mann. Starring Keanu Reeves.