Sedona or Eat, Pray, Love, Arizona-Style

With the current Sedona, writer/director/producer Tommy Stovall establishes that showcasing good-hearted, spiritually eccentric people with the power to revamp big-city workaholics into Thoreaus and Elizabeth Gilberts is his modus operandi.

A tiny, low-budget American indie, Sedona is a love letter to this small Arizona town with its jaw-dropping red sandstone formations, a major draw for those seeking mystical transformations. Just imagine a lush National Geographic special with uplifting plot lines.

Sedona’s initial tale concerns Tammy (Titanic’s Frances Fisher), a middle-aged businesswoman driving on to Phoenix for a major advertising deal. The dear, frazzled coffee-addict, though, just might never reach her desired destination. Fate? First, her auto is damaged by a small privately owned plane forced to land on the highway due to engine trouble. Then she’s apprised her car parts have to be ordered, so to pass time she winds up getting a foot massage from Deb (Beth Grant), a feel-good expert on chakras and astrology. During this session, Tammy conjures up memories of being an unwed teenage mom who was forced to give up her son. After this painful recollection subsides, she rents a car, loses its keys, meets a middle-aged hunk (Blue Lagoon’s Christopher Atkins, and looks under a statue’s skirts to see if the sculptor actually included a vagina, as all the townspeople insist.

A few miles away on a hiking trip, a gay male couple, Scott (Seth Peterson) and Eddie (Matthew J. Williamson), with their two sons, intermittently display their love and irritation with each other. Will Scott, a lawyer, ever overcome his attachment to his cell phone and become an affectionate element of this family? Well, when one son gets lost in the snaked-filled hills, you can bet a catharsis is on the way.

If this weren’t enough, there’s a surprise connection between all of the characters about which my lips will remain mum.

However, I’ll vocalize that Sedona is a pleasant, pain-free pastime that might just calm you down a little and help you ponder your interaction with this angst-filled world. Clearly a family film in the best sense, one boasting an affable cast, a basic, humane screenplay, and serviceable helming, it’s proof that sometimes that’s all you need.

(Out on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital download on August 22, 2012. Will be available On Demand through major U.S. cable providers.) - Brandon Judell

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Mr. Judell is currently teaching "The Arts in New York City," "American Jewish Theater," and "Theater of the Sixties" at The City College of New York and is Coordinator of The Simon H. Rifkind Center. He has written on film for The Village Voice, indieWire.com, The New York Daily NewsSoho Style, and The Advocate, and is anthologized in Cynthia Fuchs's Spike Lee Interviews (University Press of Mississippi) and John Preston's A Member of the Family (Dutton). He is also a member of the performance/writing group FlashPoint.

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