It starts looking cool enough, I thought, although not overwhelmingly original: under a blue, blue sky, four young guys, as different as can be, drive to seemingly nowhere in a beautiful car from the roaring fifties. Singing, drinking, screaming. It looks like they're having a lot of fun, which of course will prove to be a doomed mood: their lives are suspended between youth and whatever comes next, just like them driving in the middle of Texas' desert landscapes with the unlikely goal of attending one of the mates' wedding... Everything is on the verge of changing for them; their friendship, the way they lead their lives, the way they consider the future.
What Kevin Reynolds achieves here masterfully is making the whole thing look, at first, like just another buddy-movie. Yet I think there is a lot more to it. Fun, slapstick, grotesque situations, and still, every time or so, we're given a hint that those people have no idea where they're going, that they try to ignore the (real) world that's waiting for them.
The one most representative of that borderline state and who remains, by default, the big brother telling the others where to go next, is Gardner Barnes, played by Kevin Costner. Very young-looking (to whoever, like me, hasn't seen him in a picture made 16 years ago), he radiates a kind of natural quality, telling us he may just be the most frightened and unsure one of those four mostly-losers. Anyone who has apreciated Costner in at least one movie should definitely have a look at this one.
There'll never be anything even remotely tragic in this story, nor any solid insight into any of those old kids. Not even into Gardner, the one with a haunting love on his mind, who claims he's never token a woman seriously. Some moments might strike you as either clichee, heavy or childish... Yet, after the finale, Reynolds has gotten us where we're supposed to be: feeling the dry cut apart from the time where our dreams where, to ourselves, a solid option for what our future might look like. The loss of what kept the world together until this very moment.
I should add that, having listened precisely in my beginning twenties to the Pat Metheny Group like mad, I was totally taken away when the whole wedding scene appeared to be choreographed around two of his magic compositions.
This movie has something fresh, universal, sincere. It's full of ideas and benefits from a truly inventive photography as well as a from a perfectly well-tuned rythm.
Anyone on a day where he feels up to re-live those cheers AND nostalgia, in the company of a bunch of excellent actors, would do himself a favor by taking a while to watch it. And, maybe, reconciliate with that little mix of sadness and joy we think we should have left behind us.