Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) in California Solo.
These days

By John Esther

Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) has seen better days. A brief rocker sensation in the 1990s, Lachlan now spends his days working and managing an organic farm and his nights doing a less-than-organic podcast show called "Flame-Outs," where he talks about young musicians who died too early.

Once a week Lachlan leaves his Antelope Valley and heads south to the Silver Lake farmers market where he charms customers into buying his organic wares at laughably cheap prices. His favorite customer is the oh-so-hipsterly named Beau (Alexia Rasmussen), a sort of humdrum, typical, wannabe actor commonly found throughout Los Angeles. Lachlan is obviously smitten with her, but she has no clue of his affections or, for that matter, is infamous past as a member of the Cranks, the UK's answer to Nirvana.

Perhaps due to the introduction of Beau's beau, Paul (Danny Masterson), or perhaps because his luck is running out, Lachlan goes on another drinking spree that night -- only this time he is pulled over for drunk driving.

Because a drunk driving conviction could get him deported backed to Scotlan, Lachlan makes efforts to reconnect with his Catherine (Kathleen Wilhoite) and their daughter Arianwen (Savannah Lathem), but may be too little to late to save him.

Beyond a very strong performance by Carlyle and supported by some strong supporting performances, notably by Masterson, Wilhoite and Michael Des Barres as the Cranks ex-manager, and a bit of quality dialogue during a few scenes, writer-director Marshall Lewy's California Solo has very little going for it. It is not that the film is bad or boring so much as it is forgettable. It is the kind of film one sees and forgets until coming across it a video store. A fleeing moment of recognition, only to be forgotten, again -- I guess just like Lachlan MacAldonich.

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