This is the story of a free-spirited, adventurous 10 year old girl named Harriet (introducing Evan Rachel Wood) who spends her time waiting for UFO’s to come take her away from her unappreciated existence. At least she’s supposed to be unappreciated, but frankly, I think the kid simply complains too much. Her life just doesn’t seem to be that bad.
She says in her voice over, she is waiting “for something magical” to happen to her. The magic arrives in the form of Ricky, a mentally ill young man played by Kevin Bacon who comes on the scene after his mother’s car breaks down.
Harriet immediately befriends Ricky much to the distaste of her big sister Gwen (Mary Stuart Masterson) who helps run the motel where they live – the Indian Village Cabins – along with their mother played by Cathy Moriarty.
I’d like to say that I enjoyed actor Timothy Hutton’s directorial debut but it was a weak story done in tedious fashion. The mother kicks the bucket early on, after a boring screen presence; the relationship between Harriet and Gwen is established as an adversarial one from the start so it really has no where to go after Gwen announces her big “relationship” surprise to Harriet. The story really revolves around Harriet and Ricky and that is so slow going, it’s really hard to stay interested. In fact, Bubba, my Hubba-Hubba, fell asleep three times.
Kevin Bacon has the behavior of this mentally challenged person down pat and the youngster who plays Harriet is quite good. But the performances just can’t drag this one out of the river. Lotta says this is a snorer, not hideous, just who cares. I did like the North Carolina setting, though!