Star Maps | Chicago Reader

Star Maps

Given its heartfelt sincerity and its desire to adapt some of the tropes of Mexican movie melodrama, I wish I could recommend this American independent feature by Latino writer-director Miguel Arteta, but the stilted dialogue and camera style make this difficult. After spending two years in Mexico with his grandparents, a young Mexican-American (Douglas Spain) returns to Los Angeles; though he aspires to be a Hollywood actor, his pimp father (Efrain Figueroa) puts him to work as a roadside prostitute selling maps of the stars? homes as a front. As in Midnight Cowboy, the kinship of prostitution and movie acting is milked for everything it's worth, but the overdetermined and strident plot doesn't give the viewer much freedom in negotiating this territory; Arteta spells out everything in italics. Both Spain and Kandeyce Jorden (as a TV actress who picks up the young man and promises him a part) have their moments, but the other players? heated, awkward deliveries tend to flatten the script?s affective power.

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