Lost Holiday (2018) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

I wish I liked “Lost Holiday” a lot more. While I think the premise has a ton of potential to be an off kilter drama mystery, it works a little too much in the bizarre comedy spectrum to really involve the audience. Michael and Thomas Matthews mix a coming of age comedy with a crime mystery, focusing on a gum shoe of a woman who has no idea how to keep herself from falling over, but decides to solve an unusual kidnapping that only sees her descend deeper in to catastrophe.

Maggie is in the middle of a boring holiday party with her friends and ex-classmates and decides to leave and wile the night away drinking. When we learn that she was driven from the party thanks to an awkward confrontation with a soon-to-be-married ex-boyfriend she never got over, she ends the night doing drugs with a drug dealer. When she learns about the kidnapping of an heiress, she and her unlikely ally Henry venture across the city to find out what happened to her and if she’s still alive.

For all intents and purposes, writers Michael and Thomas Matthews do manage to concoct an engaging mystery, and once it wraps up, it’s a pretty fascinating turn of events. I also very much enjoyed the turn by Kate Lyn Scheil. That said, a lot of the mystery plot goes by the wayside in the second half, which is a shame because for the most part, “Lost Holiday” is an okay movie that introduces an unlikely protagonist. A lot of the character elements about Margaret being nothing but a drunken basket case becomes the crux of her character, and it can tend to become much more difficult to root for her, the more we see of her.

The directors spend too much time on Margaret in a drunken stupor, and trying to get over her boyfriend, that she is never quite put in to the focus as a heroine working toward good intentions. Even when the film wraps up in a manner that is reasonable, we never truly get the sense she was working toward helping someone. It just feels like risking lives for the sake of selfish reasons. I think “Lost Holiday” might work for some people with its indie aesthetic, but it’s mostly a missed opportunity with a narrative that meanders, and feels just downright messy.

The Slamdance Film Festival runs every year from January 25th to January 31st.