After getting great reviews after its world premiere at SXSW in 2021, Potato Dreams of America continued to make people laugh. Laugh about a fairly serious subject – the American Dream wrapped up with sexual identity.
The story of a young boy growing up in the USSR as it is beginning to collapse, who, along with his mother (Sera Barbieri – The Space Between Us), dreams of escaping to the United States. The country they see on the television in which anything seems possible.
The mother makes this happen by becoming a mail-order bride to a middle-aged man in the States. Once there, though, it becomes apparent that he is not what they thought he would be. John (Dan Lauria – from television’s The Wonder Years) is a devout Christian who expects certain things from both his wife (Marya Sea Kaminski – Dichotomy) and now teenage stepson (Tyler Bocock – first feature film). Potato (his mother’s nickname for him) being a homosexual does not fit that particular bill.
Director Wes Hurley (Waxie Moon) used his own life story as the inspiration for this film. The contrast between Russian and American lifestyles, while being stereotypical – for humour’s sake, is done in a way only someone in the know could have. Hurley knows of what he speaks.
While there are problems with the mise en scene and some clunkiness with the script, overall it is a fun film of a style that doesn’t often come along. Get on board this low budget, quirky film and enjoy the ride.
The film is now available on VOD/digital/DVD.