The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Take Sleepless in Seattle. Lose the big name stars and the big name director. Switch coasts. Lose the kid. Add a Puffer Fish. Replace a late night radio program with simple destiny. Lose The Empire State Building. Add an environmental warrior. Subtract tons of mail. Add a Personals Ad. Lose the allergies. Add the Mob.

What you get is the indie flick Next Stop, Wonderland. Sort of.

The film follows a young woman who is suddenly single. She begins to half-heartedly attempt to change that condition, only to discover that most single men are dorks. Meanwhile, there's a young man who is also single and he isn't really trying to change that. From frame one, we all know that these two are made for each other, and we keep cringing in frustration as they continue to just miss meeting each other.

That's the plot. But there's a lot more to this movie than a simple plot. It is a wonderful glimpse into the sad truth that most guys are complete losers in one way or another.

Now, this is not news to anyone, I'm sure, especially to the women out there. However, as a man, I was saddened to see just how lame we actually are. I mean really, do we look that bad to you gals? Always lying, misquoting literature and thinking with the wrong head?

How do you put up with us? I swear, if I were a woman, I'd go gay in no time!

This was a good movie. It had a lot to teach us, besides how pathetic men are. For one thing, it gave us a fascinating look behind the scenes of an aquarium. The politics, the scheming, the fish! In fact, the film brought a lot of excitement to the often neglected world of marine biology, and I expect a boon in the field as movie-goers are taken with the same kind of frenzy that hit when The Hunt For Red October made submarines cool again.

But we also learn a lot about love, and how to go about it in all the wrong ways. I believe that all men should see this film and see what kind of boors we really can be. Maybe it will help a few of us to evolve into a more high-class specimen of the gender. Forget all the self-help books. Forget Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, forget Dr. Leo Buscaglia, just go watch Next Stop, Wonderland, and you too will learn some very important lessons about life, liberty, and the pursuit of women.

Women, of course, will go see this film because it is just plain funny. And it's always fun to see men look like blithering idiots.

If I have one gripe, it is that the title is misleading. They never go to Wonderland. We never get to see the White Rabbit, or the Mad hatter or any of those lovable characters that I would expect to see in a film with the word Wonderland in its title. Oh well.

In all, I recommend this film highly. It's fun, witty, and well done. True, most of the film is shot with a hand-held camera style that shakes back and forth, but after the first couple of scenes, you don't really notice it, and it actually adds to the feeling of the film. Bravo. 4 Babylons. Enjoy!

Editor's Note:

Not all men are dorks. Just those who bear any similarity at all to The Critic.

Next Stop, Wonderland
Rated: R
Directed By: Brad Anderson
Starring: Hope Davis, Alan Gelfant, Shep Ripple, Victor Argo, I could go on and on and you'd never recognize any of them.

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