Simon (aka John Q), Kyle Gallner (“Outsiders (TV)”, “American Sniper”), is the leader of a punk rock band who is also doing his best to get by, floating from one bad gig to the next.
He’s wanted by the police, he has a habit of setting things on fire, usually intentionally, drinks, smokes and sell drugs, all to get money together for his band.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, Patty, Emily Skeggs (“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”, “Mile 22”), is a rather special woman, working in a pet store and a little short on the old grey matter.
The two come together when Simon is running from the police and Patty lies for him. She takes him back to her house and he convinces her uptight parents that he’s a missionary and needs a place to stay.
What Simon doesn’t know, nor does Patty, is that she’s his biggest fan. She has all his bands albums and is desperate to see them live. She has also been writing him love poems and sending him polaroid’s of her as she masturbates to his songs.
Despite not liking her when they first meet, Simon begins to fall for Patty, taking revenge for her when some jocks take the piss out of her.
We do get to see Simon’s home life, a massive mansion and a mother in pearls. Of course, none of them seem to like him and the meal descends into chaos.
With Simon wanted by the police though, and turning down a concert with a bigger band, some of the other band decide to sell him out for the reward money.
Written and directed by Adam Rehmeier (“Jonas”, “The Bunny Game”), Dinner In America is a darkly comic, laugh-out-loud movie that dares to show the bleak-side of American life.
For instance, when Simon finds out that the woman who has been sending him polaroid’s of herself, or at least her panties, is Patty, the woman he’s just been calling a retard, his face is a picture.
But the pair grow to like, even love, each other. Writing a song together and what Rehmeier manages to do is inject a huge amount of humanity into the movie as Simon continuously stands up for Patty and always tries to show her that she is better than people, society, tells her she is.
Eventually, by the end, she gets it and does stand up for herself to the jocks girlfriends.
There are some comparisons to Napoleon Dynamite but, personally, I don’t see it. I wasn’t keen on that movie but I loved Dinner In America, laughing a lot and really enjoyed the world Rehmeier carves out for his protagonists.
You should seek out Dinner In America at your earliest opportunity, it’s wonderfully funny, a world away from the ‘clean’ American we always see on film.