Not to be confused with Stakeland, a 2011 vampire flick, Skateland - as in "land of the roller skates" - debuted on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, giving most audiences their first chance to see the coming-of-age drama. Those who do bother to see it will be treated to a moderately engaging if ultimately inconsequential tale that features the lovely Ashley Greene.
Greene, best known for her role as Alice Cullen in the Twilight movies, plays the love interest to the lead protagonist Ritchie (Shiloh Fernandez), a 19-year old who works at a struggling roller rink and seems destined to do nothing but drive around with friends and get drunk.
Since Skateland is not Twilight, the movie is by definition guaranteed to be better than most Ashley Greene movies.
Skateland is what it is, a coming-of-age tale set in the 1970's. It has good acting by the two leads - despite neither of them looking like they just graduated from high school - as well as the supporting cast.
I say "is what it is" because the movie has been done a hundred times before, some to better results, others not so much. Skateland is seemingly perfectly content with being in the middle of the pack, a harmless, even decent movie that, much like its main character, lacks motivation to set itself apart.
Being "what it is", Skateland is perfectly watchable. I enjoyed it, didn't hate it and don't feel I wasted an hour and a half.
Sadly, if "didn't feel I wasted an hour and a half" is the best that can be said about the movie, that's not a good sign. Skateland, as both a coming-of-age tale and romance, is forgettable. The characters are mildly engaging but hardly compelling; the romance believable but uninspired; the story unoriginal.
Skateland is decent all around, but no movie should strive for just being "decent."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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