‘Unidentified Objects’: a perversely attractive road trip

Matthew Jeffers and Sarah Hay in ‘Unidentified Objects’. Unidentified objects

Searching endlessly for something that smacks of a trace of originality and almost never finding anything even remotely applicable, it’s always nice to come across a new idea. Such an occasion is called an eccentric curio Unidentified objects. This one is definitely different. That doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s just different.

UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS ★★1/2 (2/4 stars)
Directed by: Juan Felipe Zuleta
Written by: Leland Frankel
Starring: Sarah Hay, Matthew Jeffers, Roy Abramsohn
Duration: 100 minutes.

It’s about a gay dwarf named Peter and a lurid, talkative porn star named Winona who take a road trip to Canada in a big, ugly pink car to reunite her with a group of aliens who have promised to take her to another planet. Neighbors in a run-down Los Angeles apartment building who have nothing in common, she’s tired of being a sex worker and he’s unemployed and broke, so when she pesters him to take care of wheels, he agrees for $1700. He thinks she’s going to visit her sister, but what she doesn’t tell him (at least not right away) is that she’s headed to a kidnapping site to meet intergalactic freaks who travel on starlight and energy, but need human DNA to reproduce.

With her twangy nasal voice and his little sourpuss cynicism, they make a formidable team. She never stops talking. He never stops reading Chekhov. The youngsters today who pose as critics on the internet and have never seen a logical, well-made movie seem to love it. Healthier, more mature viewers will no doubt demand more. Few will deny that it is a freaky rara avis unlike anything seen before.

Matthew Jeffers in “Unidentified Objects.” Unidentified objects

Since director Juan Felpe Zuleta and scriptwriter Leland Frankel didn’t bother to provide a plot, the movie depends on what the few misfits see and do along the way to fill its running time. Unfortunately, their encounters are not very interesting. He offers some long-winded insights into literature, viciously comparing his idol Chekhov to Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams. She is recognized by two punks in a gas station who are addicted to porn. He dances romantically in the arms of a handsome roughneck in a bar and gets dumped in the middle of a parking lot. Obsessed with astronomy, she names the constellations. Nothing new in there, but as far as I know it’s the first time I’ve seen a dwarf play a completely naked drunken scene. When the aliens finally show up, they look like nothing ET There’s a long, lingering shot of a caterpillar crossing the road.

I’ve never seen or heard either of the actors, but Matthew Jeffers as Peter and Sarah Hay as Winona are both very good in a bizarre way that can only be described as perversely attractive. Part sexy surrealism, part eccentric sci-fi fantasy, same goes for Unidentified objects.

Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and notable movies.

'Unidentified Objects': a perversely attractive road trip

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