Phoenix, Oregon (2020)

As mid-life takes them into its arms, two friends are over being mistreated at the restaurant where they work by a boss who cuts every corner possible. When the opportunity arises, they both follow a dream they’ve had and make a very important career move with a closed bowling alley in their small town.

Written and directed by Gary Lundgren, this is a sorta-quirky comedy that is aimed at adults, something that is seemingly pretty rare in a world where comedies are usually aimed at the 18-34 year old demographics. Here the leads are in their mid-life crises and the audience the film aims at is of about the same age. Thankfully, the film is written in a way that many will be able to watch it and enjoy it. The characters are interesting and well-developed and they have arcs that are meaningful, especially the lead of Bobby. Of course, younger audiences may not be the target here and they may very well not be fully into this film. In terms of writing and directing, the film is well-crafted with a good attention to detail, which gives it something extra when it comes to how it plays on the screen.

The cast here is talented with lead Bobby played by James LeGros who just about anyone who watches movies is familiar with. Here he gives a great performance with nuances and emotions that are kept to a minimum. This means that his character is not the effusive kind, but he gives him humanity and brings the viewer in so that they care about what happens to him. Playing his best friend Carlos and partner in the new venture is Jesse Borrego who gives a good counter performance in that he works in bringing more enthusiasm to the film and a bit of extra energy. While Bobby is a most chill kind of guy, Carlos is excited about life. Rounding out the lead cast who all work on the new venture is Lisa Edelstein as Tanya, someone in it for entirely other reasons, but who cares about them as well. Here we see a trio that brings completely different characters bring them all different layers and justifications. They all do great work that also works together with each other’s well.

In terms of look, this film is a bit on the basic side for most of the run time, but it brings an interesting element into play once the story gets going in that parts of the story, the flashbacks in fact, are told with drawings made by the lead character and they bring something extra to the movie watching experience in that they have a different look and show a really good artistic side to things. Of course, this is just a little something extra, but for some, it will make all the difference in a film with a look that is completely regular otherwise with decent cinematography that just stays out of the way of the story and editing that works with the story. Here that addition of the drawings in a comic book or graphic novel style is something that adds a bit of fun.

Phoenix, Oregon is a fairly fun movie to watch and it carries an important message about going after your dreams before it’s too late, even if it’s scary or expensive, and that making yourself happy is important in this life. The performances are good with James LeGros gives the best of the bunch. While this can fit under the quirky comedy umbrella, it’s not annoyingly so. It’s definitely not an immature comedy, but it will appeal to those looking for their dreams and wanting to make changes in their lives. The work here is more mature, giving a new angle to quirky comedies, something that has become almost a dirty word in some circles, but is a positive here.

Go online and buy an online ticket for the film, watch at home, support a theater and the film! It’s a great way to support the film and the theaters in the USA and Canada while not having to put on pants!