DVD Review: Dakota Skye.

This movie is equally brilliant as it is aggravating. Dakota Skye (Eileen Boylan) has a superpower: she can tell when people are lying and know exactly what they really mean. And because of this, her life has made her very cynical and grumpy to the point where she even hates being around her best friend. Her boyfriend, Kevin (J.B. Ghuman Jr.), is an older guy, in a band, and is part time nice guy, part time daft jerk. But then his best friend in the world, Jonah (Ian Nelson), comes to visit from New York, and he turns Dakota's world upside down. How? Apparently, he never lies, which intrigues her immensely. He's like her arch-nemesis. The problem is... what happens when they fall for each other, especially since that leaves Kevin's emotions at play.

The movie is witty, clever, and--at times--genius. Seriously, there are some amazingly written (and acted) moments in this film--for instance, the "I can't tell you" scene with Jonah, or Dakota's internal monologue at the movie theater. The movie has some great ideas, as well. The problem is that the movie falls short at times of what it could have been with some of the ideas it presents. For every brilliantly written or acted scene, there seems to be a mediocre one (OK, so maybe the ratio is a little closer to the brilliant side). Though I did really like the main quirk of the film: whenever somebody said a lie, there would be a subtitle of what was really meant, which we knew Dakota knew, as well.

But my biggest issue falls with Dakota herself. While the actress who plays her is hot (or at least more than the "medium-cute" as she describes herself), she's a completely and utterly unlikable character. I know most of that is the point, but something could have been done to make her more likable, or at least shown some kind of change earlier in the film. Instead, the movie has her play with people's emotions and makes her that much more unlikable. Parts of her actually reminded me of Bella from the Twilight series (I don't think she's that bad, though). She has quite a bit of voice-over narration, especially toward the beginning, and most of that is really good--especially for voice-over narration. But it's the way she acts in person. In other words, she's totally Emo.

Part of the problem could also be due to the writing of boyfriend Kevin. At times, the character is presented as a douche (though unintentional on his part) who treats Dakota like crap. But other times, he was a pretty decent person, and I felt bad for him for how Dakota was treating him. If he was written as more of a total jerk, maybe her transition to Jonah wouldn't have made her look as bad as I felt it did.

But at the same time, these things fall under one of the movie's strengths: its realism. From the dialogue down to the character's actions, the movie felt like it could be real (despite the magical realism of her 'superpower'). There was just enough cussing or just enough teen angst to make the dialogue (or sometimes lack thereof) seem absolutely real. It was never really overdone at all. The movie was quirky, but not too quirky to where--with something like Juno--it seems made-up. And the characters aren't your typical Hollywood cardboard cutouts (the jerk boyfriend, the faultless lead female). The characters had depth and ranges of emotions. But I'm just not sure whether or not it worked for this film and with what it was trying to accomplish. As I said, it made the main character come off as completely unlikable and unsympathetic.

As such, this is a very strange movie to review. Part of me wants to give it a really high score due to these streaks of brilliance. But the other part of me is fighting that urge for any or all of the aforementioned reasons. I can compare a handful of things about it to Twilight, which isn't remotely a good thing. At least the writing and dialogue is better. The cinematography was really good; the movie looked great. And the music was decent. I suppose, overall, I'm gonna go, as usual, with entertainment value over more technical aspects (writing, etc.). So with that said...

I Am McLovin!

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