‘The Odd Way Home’ is a movie with an emotional and sometimes moving plot that suffers from strained performances and a haphazard story-line. Despite having a somewhat unique twist it still manages to utilize a plethora of clichés and tropes from other road movies, which severely hinder its emotional progression.
Maya (Rumer Willis) needs to get away from an abusive boyfriend after he nearly beats her to death in Los Angeles. She steals his truck and heads off. In New Mexico she looks for help in an isolated house after some car trouble only to find its owner dead on the couch. Maya quickly helps herself to some loot and other surprises from the house, but the biggest surprise of all is when she discovers the house owner’s high functioning autistic son Duncan (Chris Marquette) hiding in her truck.
From here the odd road trip theme really begins to develop as the two mismatched passengers drive long distances and begin to have to come to terms with each others idiosyncrasies and character weaknesses. The two decide to search out some answers and relief from the remaining family the two have. Maya’s in the form of a confrontation with her psychologically abusive parents and Duncan’s in the form of an absent and negligent father.
I’m not sure if it is a blessing or a curse that the film attempts to portray so much dysfunction and emotion in a simple lighthearted and comedic manner. The tone just seems off for what should have been some really powerful scenes.
Rumer Willis and Chris Marquette are passable in their roles, but unfortunately since the script gives them little to work with in terms of character development they are forced to wallow in shallowness. Emotion without motivation just doesn’t have the same effect on an audience.