Detours (2015) – By Misty Layne


I’m not completely positive because I don’t really watch a lot of road trip movies, BUT I think there are an extreme lack of father-daughter road trip flicks available. It’s usually friends + alcohol or mom-son/daughter, right? Not this one and I am very glad because that is such a great dynamic to explore in the space of a car and open road. And this film does it in a delightfully fun, quirky way!

Jennifer (Tara Westwood) and Dan (Carlo Fiorletta) are a fairly typical daughter and father, straddling the younger and later edges of middle age. Within two years, both have lost their marital partners. One loss is due to divorce, the other an accident. When Jennifer visits her father to announce she is relocating to pursue her dream job, she realizes her father has not left the house since his wife’s death, except for bare necessities and he has yet to dispose of her mother’s ashes. Jennifer realizes she has lost touch with her dad despite being geographically close. She convinces Dan to tackle the relocation with her and her automated friend, Joe, her GPS with above-average artificial intelligence. The pair navigate through a range of beautiful moments and obstacles, and receive help from unexpected new friends in their journey from the impending colder weather of New Jersey to warm weather and sunshine in Florida. A story of parent-child relationships, DETOURS is a story of how we need each other as parents and children. It is a movie about looking for love in the present and the future after a loss.

This road trip is all about Joe, the AI GPS, who is the best damn thing about the film (sorry everyone else but he’s hilarious and I love him!); awkward father-daughter bonding; and a host of small-town characters found along the road. It’s about finding new loves or the chance of it, and coming to terms with the hand life has dealt you. It’s a sweet story wrapped in a vaguely crude package that’s laugh out loud funny.

And the cast is sooo wonderful! Not only do Tara Westwood and Carlo Fiorleta do great jobs as our daughter-father duo but there are great cameos from Paul Sorvino and Richard Kind. Then there’s Phyllis Somerville as the mechanic/dry cleaner/owner of something else too, who I initially thought was shady AF (c’mon, she TOTALLY put that alligator there to drum up business!) but who turned out to be a peach. She was fabulous and a definite highlight of the film.

There’s really no bad here if you’re a fan of road trip comedies. My only “complaint” is: I’ve lived in Jersey AND Alabama. You can drive that distance in a day, c’mon, lol! DETOURS is a fun and quirky look at life after death, life after loss, and the in-betweens, and I highly recommend it.

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