Indie plodder Todd Verow's latest micro-budgeted production, "Vacationland," draws deep from the helmer's own experiences growing up gay in Maine. Pic reps better-than-usual fare from the prolific multi-hyphenate ("Anonymous"), although "Vacationland" remains marred by sluggish script and Verow's inability to either direct actors or cast ones whose thesping matches their good looks. "Vacationland" will appear at gay fests before going to work on specialist ancillary.
Gay high-school senior Joe (Hallowell) is not quite out to his family, but has been in love for years with best friend Andrew (Gregory J. Lucas). Unhappy at home, he moves in with a sickly older man (Charles Ard) as a caretaker and artist's model. Boys' g.f.s (Jennifer Stackpole, Mindy Hofman) figure out the guys are more interested in each other than in them, and convince the lads to get it on finally. They start investigating the local gay scene where figures from Joe's troubled past surface. Subplot concerns efforts by Joe's sister (Hilary Mann) to ditch town. Cast, apart from Ard, all look like they're in their 20s rather than teens. Tech package sucks.
Camera (color), Verow; music, Jim Dwyer, Colin Owns; production designer, Charles Ard. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 15, 2006. Running time: 104 MIN.