There's nothing worse than a filmmaker who believes he is being profound but is, in fact, being trite. This is the mortal sin committed by Mark Mann, the director and writer of Generation Um ..., which reminds us that, hey, Keanu Reeves is still around and that Theodore Logan too can find his way to a navel-gazing piece of crap, just like any other actor.
Reeves plays John, a middle-aged Manhattanite with little to show for his time on Earth to date. He lives in semi-squalor with his much younger relative, who doesn't help to pay what's surely an outrageous rent given the state of his apartment, and scrapes by financially by driving escort girls to their various sordid appointments in a station wagon that could have been taken straight from the set of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
I'm sure Mann thought he was making a point -- maybe about the shriveling middle class and John's place in it given the crackly radio in the background during a few scenes that spits out financial soundbites from President Obama -- but, assuming he succeeded in doing so, it was one that has been made many times over, and in more compelling packages.
There may very well be a new Lost Generation among us, but it will have to do much better than Reeves' John to convince me that it is worth saving. After all, this is a small-time crook and thief whose primary source of income is derived, parasitically, from the illegal sex industry. He might have redeeming qualities, but they aren't showed off during the 97 minutes Mann has us endure with him.
Sorry, stealing a nice video camera and getting a pair of prostitutes, played by Adelaide Clemens and Bojana Novakovic, to divulge deep, dark secrets while they ingest Scarface-ian amounts of cocaine doesn't count as a saving grace or prove there's some tragically untapped potential bubbling just below the surface.
Generation Um ... is such a dull, cliche slog that, if you're like me, you'll spend much of the film trying to finish off the rest of the sentence implied by its title. What the Hell Was the Point of That? was probably my favorite way to fill out those ellipses.