Customers have been wanting to see this title just for another glimpse into this Trona trend. The same named film of last year, along with several other forays into this desolate region have provided a nice realm for those minimalist fans.
Just Add Water has an outstanding supporting cast, but I would not recommend this film if one is looking for any significant screen time by Jonah Hill, Justin Long or Danny Devito. This is all about the Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck) and Tracy Middendorf (lots of TV) love story. Hitchcock's (the Serenity doctor) well-played whacko cheating husband role, coupled with Penny Balfour's first notable (and excellent) screen time, makes this a film someone will want to see as these actors become more prevalent. Same to be said for Lucy Devito's role. The location is a character in itself with that miserable desolation and abandoned small town feel. It makes you never want to drive through that area, except maybe to see for one's self if it is that boarded up and bleak.
The story centers on a man living a mundane life with a wife that has serious "issues", as told to us by the movie's narrator (also Devito). His voice-over divulges little tidbits about our tale of deceit, love and thugs in a forgotten-about town in the desert. The believability of these characters and their miserable existence is sustainable (especially if one watches Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea - this movie reminded me of that docu several times). When we get to the end though, you cannot help but see a Big Fish fantasy resemblance (Devito, water) mixed with a bumbling mess of 1980s slapstick (the CPS workers in WWII nurse garb, the immensely overweight police showing up in modern paddy wagon, the constant pregnancy theme, etc.)
I would like to say this is worth the watch for a mainstream crowd, but I find it hard to pinpoint what audience they were trying to appease for this film. One can see Station Agent and Things That Hang from Trees style minimalism, but the whole ending action sequence is so haphazard, it really makes me believe that last part is a fantasy/dream the likes of Big Fish - but with bad special effects. Summarily, there are several laugh out loud moments, a prevalent theme of adults that never had a mature relationship, and a nicely provocative dance scene with the beautiful Italian-American actress Ms. Vincent - WOW. A bunch of these little things makes this a worthy watch for reasons and/or actors discussed, but that ending is what sticks with me as a deal-breaker for not being an outright must see indie film.
The turtle was pretty cool too.