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The Go-Getter
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from 4,525 votes
Release: 22 January 2007 (USA) /

The Go-Getter

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Martin Hynes,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: In Eugene, Oregon, Mercer, 19, wants to tell his wayward half-brother, 18 years older than he, that their mother has died. He has an address in Shelter Cove, so he steals a car from a car wash and heads south. Nothing is simple: his brother is gone, but he left resentment Mercer has to deal with. He gets an address in Reno and stops in Fallon to hook up with a girl he knew in middle school. Reno's a bust, but she promises sex if Mercer will drive her and two friends to Mohave. His plans go awry. From time to time, the car's owner calls him on a cell phone left in the car. Her arch but friendly voice gives Mercer needed empathy. Will he ever find his brother, and if so, what then? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Critic Reviews


I attended the world premiere of "The Go-Getter" at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. I'm not quite sure why, but this year's lineup seems to be heavy on heavy. I like a dark, moody melodrama as much as anybody, but whatever happened to the good old-fashioned road movie? I found the answer with "The Go-Getter." This film is all that and more. One part sweet love story, one part romantic comedy, and one part coming-of-age tale, "The Go-Getter" takes it all on the road and drives home a winning combination that will leave you smiling.

Lou Taylor Pucci (Mercer) is a good kid, but one day he decides to chuck his bike and steal a car. I don't like to post spoilers, so I won't divulge more details other than to say that the trip on which he embarks will take him on a journey that would make "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" blush.

Like any good road movie, he encounters one motley crew after another, a cast of characters all of whom get him just one step closer to the goal he seeks. But like a treasure hunt whose map takes him to places enticing enough to have him abandon his quest, he needs to keep his wandering eye on the prize. And oh, the temptresses who cause that eye to wander.

Jena Malone is Joely, a sultry vixen (quite the change for Ms. Malone) who is determined to pop Mercer's cherry. What a breath of fresh air to see this versatile young actress take on such an empowering role. Women's Lib ain't over yet. Zooey Deschanel is Kate. It's her car he stole. And she is determined to get it back -- or is she? The "indie darling" gets her chance to shine here, and the tension that builds towards a possible reunion of car and owner holds this story together like a rope ties down a trunk when the lock is broken. We're never quite sure if it'll hold.

And Lou Taylor Pucci has never been better in his role as the determined yet naive youth whose trusting nature and sense of wonder left me wanting to roll back the years to a time when everything was fresh and new. Pucci's sense of comedic timing and natural delivery is second to none, and while some of his dialog was indeed improvised, I was shocked to learn that the scenes which felt the most unscripted were, in fact, from the pen of writer/director Martin Hynes.

In the Q&A after the screening here, I was fascinated to hear that a deliberate attempt was made to cast against type. As each of the three leads has a rabid following, Hynes' script was meant to give each actor's fan base something they had never seen before: Malone as Woman, Deschanel as glamour girl, and Pucci as, well, he got his hair cut, anyway. Hope and Crosby must be smiling at this winning team.

M. Ward wrote the score, with original songs that left me wanting more. Licensing source material is pricey for an indie, but who needs hit singles when you have someone as talented as this brilliant composer? What a coup to bring him into this project. Byron Shah shot two films here at Sundance, "An American Crime" (which I saw as well) and "The Go-Getter." That alone says a lot about his eye for capturing this kind of character-driven story so well. Between Shah's photography, David Birdsell's editing, and Hynes' talent for allowing his actors to tell the story, "The Go-Getter" never wanders into pretentious indie territory. It stays accessible, which is why audiences will embrace this film wholeheartedly.

"The Go-Getter" gets it right. It's warm and funny and sweet, and at this festival of doom and gloom, what a joy it was to travel down this road.

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