Homecoming

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Homecoming

What’s the old saying? You can take the actor out of The O.C. but, um, whatever. Mischa Barton, willowy and blank, assumes the role of a jilted Pennsylvania high-school sweetheart, still mourning the college departure of her football-hero ex-boyfriend; to say she inhabits it is generous. Her character, Shelby, has many a screw loose, listlessly running the local bowling alley into debt while she waits for Mike (Long) to return home for his jersey retirement. Maybe then she can put the moves on him—but who’s this new hottie, Liz (Stroup), along for the ride? Ever seen that movie Misery? Shelby has.

Homecoming then becomes a psycho thriller, efficiently plotted and set among the same frigid farmlands that we still associate with George Romero’s zombie movies. But it’s a safe bet that these characters aren’t supposed to register like the undead. Director Morgan J. Freeman doesn’t excite much of a pulse from the film’s gentle, lunkheaded object of desire (why can’t he fall for Shelby a little?) or even from the captive Liz, trapped in Shelby’s photo-laden bedroom and hobbled by a broken foot. Cinematic stalkers and their prey, take note: Sometimes, we’re just not that into you.—Joshua Rothkopf

Opens Fri; Village East.

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