America Adrift follows Lauren Luna Vélez’s Cecilia Fernandez as she attempts to help her son (Angel Bismark Curiel’s Cameron) kick his increasingly devastating drug habit, with the narrative also detailing the impact that Cameron’s addiction has on his do-gooder brother (Davi Santos’ Sam) and stroke-afflicted father (Tony Plana’s William). It’s a familiar yet straight-forward premise that’s employed to progressively unwatchable effect by filmmaker Christopher James Lopez, as the writer/director delivers a time-shifting narrative that doesn’t, for the most part, make a whole lot of sense – with Lopez’s decision to suffuse the proceedings with questionable instances of style ultimately exacerbating the already-uninvolving atmosphere. (The locale of an early scene, for example, keeps switching every few seconds for no discernible reason.) And although Vélez delivers a strong, anguished turn as the desperate protagonist, the actress has been surrounded by a cast of less-than-impressive performers that consistently undercut the effectiveness of the picture’s few positive attributes (and it doesn’t help, either, that Lopez’s screenplay is rife with eye-rollingly melodramatic, overwrought scenes and segments). It goes without saying, obviously, that the story’s various twists and turns are hardly able to pack the visceral punch that Lopez has clearly intended, which does, in the end, confirm America Adrift‘s place as an ambitious yet woefully listless (and lifeless) piece of work by a filmmaker completely out of his depth.
* out of ****