Moving McAllister is a rom-com road movie without a single bit of coherency or point. It’s boring, clichéd, makes little sense, and gives you no reason to watch it. However, it does feature an interesting cast and is only 90 minutes long, which might make you have second thoughts about skipping it. That’s the reason I decided to give it a look, and although I mostly wasted my time, it wasn’t completely terrible — just mostly so. Now if only it had something more than an interesting cast, or maybe a point.
The film stars Ben Gourley, the person who also wrote the film, as Rick, a law intern working his way up the corporate ladder. When his boss, Maxwell McAllister (Rutger Hauer), gives him an opportunity to prove his worth, he jumps at it. He has to drive a package and his boss’ niece, Michelle (Mila Kunis), to California. And he only has a few days, as his bar exam is in four days. Equipped with a rundown truck and a schedule, the pair embarks on a cross-country trip. Along the way, they run into a bunch of problems that they’ll have to overcome, and also build up their relationship to the point of rom-com tropes.
They also pick up a hitchhiker, Orlie (Jon Heder), who bonds instantly with the Hollywood-bound niece. You might think that this will make for a love triangle, but that never comes up. And Orlie gets ejected from the film early enough for him to not matter, so I had to wonder what the point was of his inclusion. To let Jon Heder do his slacker shtick again? Because people still find that funny? I’m thinking there was a reason at some point in the film’s production, but something happened to render his character redundant.
Mostly, though, we just watch the characters stumble their way through several snags on their way from Miami to Los Angeles. Things happen without much reason, anything that Michelle wants to happen will, and Rick is mostly just along for the ride, although because he sounds exasperated all the time, you know he’s not happy about the turn of events.
I think having Rick sound like that is supposed to make him endearing. We get that not everything is going his way, and that he has a schedule that needs to be kept and everything, but I found myself not caring. The whole premise of the film is showing us all the zany actions that people get into while on the road, so having a character so adverse to those antics makes him feel like a contrarian to the basic idea of the movie. It’s like he’s constantly fighting what Moving McAllister wants to show us, and that’s not at all endearing.
Michelle isn’t much better, if only because she’s not at all a nice person. The attempt is made to present her as a free spirit, but she’s mostly a commanding and manipulative individual. The first time we see her, she drugs Rick, delaying him. That trend continues throughout the movie. And whenever Rick ends up unconscious — frequently, which is unfortunate — he has very odd dreams. I’m sure there’s a point to them, but I started checking out around the time the second one rolled around; they were boring and seemed out of place in a film like this.
There is some fun to be had with a few of the stops that the crew takes on their journey. Spoiling them would ruin the surprise, but there are a couple of times when I laughed simply because the film had the guts to go there. The events themselves were the fun — not the characters, who are bland or unlikable, but the events, like when … no, I’m not going to ruin it for you. Let’s just say that they are more fun than anything else in the movie, and they only last for a few moments.
Much of Moving McAllister is spent inside the truck, allowing us to watch these two characters do absolutely nothing of interest. There isn’t any chemistry between the two actors, they’re both playing unlikable people, and whenever they’re together, the film starts grinding to a halt. The movie needs random events to excite the audience, but they don’t tie into the story except to bring the two characters closer together — even though that doesn’t feel like it’s happening until the last scene of the movie when you go: “Really? They were supposed to be bonding? Huh.”
It doesn’t help that our leading man, Ben Gourley, is not a very good actor. If the role was given to someone else, something interesting might have been done with it. Unfortunately, he’s one-note, only being the exasperated fellow who thinks the world is crashing down around him. Kunis provides the energy, but no depth, while Hauer is underutilized in the few scenes he’s given. Finally, Jon Heder continues to annoy me in everything he’s in.
Moving McAllister is a boring and clichéd road comedy crossed with a loveless and joyless rom-com. It stars a lead who has one note and one note only, jokes that don’t go anywhere, and actors who don’t appear to enjoy being in the same room with one another. The fun actors are given nothing to work with, the writing is tiresome, certain elements don’t make sense, and the film as a whole just doesn’t work at all. There are a couple of fun parts, but you have very little reason to give this flick a look.