Years before he hit Hollywood and turned out titles like One Fine Day, The Emperor's Club, and the really funny Soapdish, director Michael Hoffman cut his teeth on a few European indies, one of which is the perfectly quaint Restless Natives. It's a movie that's got more in the "sweetness & scenery" department than in the arena of laughs, but if you're in the mood for a forgettable little trifle, you could probably do a little worse.
Will (Vincent Friell) and Ronnie (Joe Mullaney) are your typical young idiots: One's a shiftless sanitation worker and the other mans a counter at the local novelty shop. Since they have no money, no plans and no prospects, the duo decides that they should motorcycle up into the Scottish hills and rob all the tour buses that drive by. This being a light and wistful comedy from the 1980s, it should come as no surprise to learn that none of the victims really mind all that much. And because Will and Ronnie commit their criminal acts while wearing a pair of goofy Halloween costumes, they both become media darlings all around Scotland.
Of course one of the two knuckleheads will fall in with the wrong crowd and of course the other goofball will fall in puppy love with one of the bus employees and OBVIOUSLY it'll all end up sweet and happy with a nice little Scottish grin on its face. It's a comedy that's never once "laugh out loud" funny, but there's still a halfway decent parcel of wit and good humor found here. Plus it's got some obscure work from the likes of Ned Beatty and Bernard Hill, so that's fun for the movie fans, I suppose.
The star of Restless Natives, though, has got to be the lovely Scottish landscape. If you're from this part of the world and you're currently experiencing some homesickness, you should absolutely get your fingers on this DVD.
Video: Anamrophic widescreen, although from a distinctly mid-'80s vintage.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.
A pleasant enough traveling companion for 91 unremarkable minutes, but not a flick you'll remember a week from now.