“Other People’s Children” is one of those faux-philosophical dramas that aims to be profound but has no way to go about it. The plight of the homeless and the loneliness that comes with creative freedom are fodder for what amounts to “a very special episode” of “One Tree Hill”, where really pretty, ridiculously privileged people dabble with the less fortunate for a while so they can pretend to not be shallow. But the water is only ankle high in Liz Heinlin’s threadbare film that features the best-looking homeless people this side of “Zoolander”. Where’s Mugatu when you need him?
Superficial and riddled with lazy clichés of indie dramas you learned to avoid years ago, “Other People’s Children” begins with Sam (Diane Marshall-Green), a wannabe documentary filmmaker who can’t even win over the respect of her father (Scott Patterson), a prominent artist. When he unexpectedly dies, she enters a period of aimlessness that sees her banging guys in club bathrooms, drinking, and the whole nine. That is until she returns home to Los Angeles and encounters P.K. (Chad Michael Murray), a perfectly-hunky and Yoda-esque homeless dude who happens to frequent Starbucks bathrooms.
There isn’t a shred of authenticity in the screenplay by Adrien Harris, offering instead stilted dialogue that sounds like it was taken from a cheap romance novel sold at the grocery store checkout line…
“I’m interested. I want to get to know you.”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t be.”
Awww, isn’t he just so mysterious? Well, no, he isn’t. P.K.’s not interesting enough to be enigmatic, and resembles what someone who has never seen a homeless person thinks he would look like. His beard is the kind of perfectly trimmed scruff that comes with really lousy attention to detail. Sam should have “oblivious” tattooed on her forehead. She comes up with the brilliant idea to make a documentary about homeless people, but all they really do is sit around in circles playing guitar and smoking weed out of bongs, broken up by the occasional frolic in an empty warehouse while bad garage music plays.
Of course there’s a romance that brews, and Sam is just so progressive that she’s willing to date a homeless guy even though her pretentious friends think he’s icky.
“You could have any other guy”, he says.
“I don’t want to be with any other guys”, she replies.
And that’s the end of the discussion. Guess it’s really not that big of a deal? But that’s the surface view the film takes on everything. Fortunately, nobody is likely to view “Other People’s Children” at all, and if you do make sure the money spent on the ticket belongs to other people.