Cinematic Releases: Baja (2018) - Reviewed

Ben reviews Baja

Life is an adventure. I’m sure I’ve seen that on a picturesque postcard somewhere. Some adventures in life require just the right amount of ‘crazy’. Tony Vidal (The Prankster) writes and directs the adventure of an average college Joe who is so wrapped up in doing for others that he can’t do for himself.

It’s funny, but as I watched this story unfold, Bryan (Jake Thomas) reminded me of me when I was younger: so convinced that I had to help others or be supportive of others that I didn’t pay attention to my own needs or wants. It wasn’t until I’d moved to Arizona that I had a friend like Todd (Chris Brochu), a more free-spirited individual, who didn’t have a care in the world. My friend didn’t have the trust fund that Todd has, but he had the same spirit and zeal. Todd came with friends too, Jessica (Michelle DeShon) and Lisa Bolanos (Arienne Mandi).

Mr. Vidal wrote a script that is full of life, spirit and vigor as Todd and crew take his parents, Hal and Josey (Kurt Fuller and Cynthia Stevenson, respectively) RV from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, so that they can eventually fly down for a vacation and then to drive the RV home.

Hijinks ensue when Todd tries to make some money, but doesn’t really see the bigger picture. Jessica is trying to get a film project put together, but nothing seems to work in her favor. There’s a moment when Todd’s “business sense” puts Lisa’s work. And, it turns out that they make a great set of business partners.

One of my favorite characters is Lisa. As much as this was Bryan’s journey of self-discovery, Lisa makes the most of the trip with her own version of self-discovery. At the beginning of the film, we realize that Lisa might be intentionally held back from discovering who she is. So, she decides to join in on the journey to meet her dad, Luis (Jose Zuniga). Through their meeting, she discovers something about the beauty of herself. Though the overall story relies too much on this character and her story, it fits nicely within the framework because I could relate to Lisa as much as I could Bryan.

Mark Margolis has a smaller role as Don Primo, but he is the common thread throughout the story, being as essential to Bryan’s story as Carmen (Zoe Corraface). They both remind us that life really is an adventure. We just need to get loco every once in a while to reconnect with ourselves and with our environment.

I found the overall film to be a little too reminiscent of my own life to fully enjoy it. But it is harmless, yet meaningful entertainment that audiences should appreciate. 

Share this review.

-Ben Cahlamer