Lonely computer programmer Alberta (Christina Jacquelyn Calph) inadvertently brings a dead 1960s rock star Russell Aquarius (Michael Ursu) back to life in “The Second Age of Aquarius,” a silly yet amusing comedy from director and co-writer Staci Layne Wilson. The film blends elements of science fiction and fantasy into what’s essentially a classic time traveling, fish out of water story. It’s a premise that lends itself well to a micro-budget indie like this.
This is a very low budget, poorly acted movie. The cast, while charming, turns in mediocre performances. Their tendency to overact is distracting, with large gestures and clunky line delivery. The only one that executes it well is Ursu, but only because his groovy hippie character is so appealing. Watching him turn on the charm with Russell’s retro sexist sensibilities is funny.
When he wakes up in Alberta’s bed, Russell thinks she’s a groupie and fears he may be in the middle of a very bad acid trip. He’s confused by microwaves (and refers to nuked chicken nuggets as “astronaut food”), but is thrilled that “grass” is legal. These are the types of gags that you expect in a film like this, and they are funny no matter your sense of humor. The jokes are elevated by Ursu’s wide-eyed, exaggerated performance.
The film uses a narrator in a “Behind the Music” style documentary that’s playing in the background as a device to tell Russell’s story, which is clever and works well. Turns out the rock icon was electrocuted on stage in front of his adoring fans during a 1970s concert when he was just 27 years old. He may not know how he got to the year 2022 or where exactly he is, but it doesn’t take long for Russell to turn on his seductive charm. Sparks fly with Alberta, turning this into a weird romantic comedy of sorts.
The film runs out of story after about 45 minutes, and if only this had been a short, it would’ve been a lot more successful. It’s a fun idea for a movie that’s dragged out too long by a cast that doesn’t have the talent or star power to carry it all the way to the finish line.
The parts that don’t work in “The Second Age of Aquarius” flop mightily but the stuff that does work, works well. This one earns a very mild recommendation solely on the premise and the charm of Ursu.
By: Louisa Moore