At Big Jim’s Auto Depot there’s only one rule. The last man, or woman, standing wins. Eight teens enter, one teen leaves. Actually, all eight teens leave, but only one leaves with the ride of their dreams. To reach that dream, they’re going through a nightmare. Keep your hand on the car. That sounds simple enough, but two days of sleep deprivation and fierce competition can make things awfully hard. (Courtesy Vision Films)
Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of one’s teenage years. Amy Roberts (Olivia Holt) and Farrell Bennett (Ryan McCartan) have spent most of their lives as rivals with each trying to outdo the other. Both are currently in need of a car (but what teen doesn’t?). Farrell crashed his car and Amy needs one so she can finally be independant. Opportunity arises for them once Big Jim (Regan Burns) from Big Jim’s Auto Depot has a contest, giving away a car. What was special about this contest was that each contestant had to keep their hand on the car and hope to be the last one standing.
Of course Roberts and Bennett end up competing for the car but they were not alone as they were joined by 6 other contestants. They had to deal with Sophie (McKaley Miller), the social media sensation, Lala (Audrey Whitby), the science queen, Colby (Daniel Vasquez), the football stud, Klyde (Stony Blyden), the adrenaline junkie, Jerome (Julian Works), the wanna-be hip-hop star, and Chris (Chandler Massey), the all-American good guy. They were some crazy characters to say the least but their special quirks almost didn’t matter as they barely played a role in the plot and it was pretty easy to figure out how the story would go anyway.
Most of the characters were on the cheesy side but the actors’ commitment to them made them kind of fun to watch, seeing them play off of each other. Because the bulk of the plot focuses on the contest, there wasn’t much time for much story. The short running time, clocking in at 90 minutes just amplified this. Beyond the Roberts and Farrell relationship, there wasn’t much character development to be had. Maybe this would take away from the plot but having slightly more would make the characters worth caring about more.
The plot is exactly what one would expect for a teen film. It’s full of characters in which teens should relate to and also a script which they should find appealing. Those who aren’t teens, however, may find themselves bored (consider myself more in the middle). The film tried to insert some more plot during breaks within the contest which allowed for more interaction but the pacing involved here didn’t allow the opportunity to make a real connection with any of the characters.
Considering the subject matter, the acting was okay all around. Holt and McCartan both make likable enough leads. All the actors committed to their characters’ craziness but some may have overdid it more than others. Burns was okay as Big Jim despite all his cheesy lines. Vanessa and Veronica Merrell as Maya and Mia respectively had some fun exchanges.
Overall, this was a kind of fun teen comedy with some decent performances but it’s appeal is rather limited.