Film Clip: Blue Like Jazz

Rated 2.0

A Texas teenager (Marshall Allman) leaves his Bible Belt cocoon for Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where his evangelical upbringing is tested by the semi-anarchic anything-goes atmosphere of left-of-center academia. Reportedly based on a memoir of spiritual discovery by campus ministry leader Donald Miller (written by him, Ben Pearson and director Steve Taylor), the movie must be highly fictionalized because it seldom rings true—two-dimensional characters, trite and stilted situations, and awkward, arch dialogue. Allman is an appealing screen presence, but neither the script nor Taylor’s direction serve him well—he and the rest of the cast of unknowns always seem to be glancing at the camera out of the corners of their eyes. Still, the Portland locations are interesting for those who know the city.