"The Same River Twice" never dips beneath the surface; it's a rather listless and self-involved documentary.
Of course, the film's superficial nature is not unexpected. The director and narrator, Robb Moss, is a longtime friend of all the subjects here, and he was unlikely to ask any really difficult questions of his pals.
Still, knowing that doesn't make the movie any easier to watch. Nor does his use of some rather lurid footage from a 1978 river-rafting trip on the Colorado River. It was there that this particular group of college dropouts practiced exhibitionism, drug use and free love.
"The Same River Twice" catches up with them more than 20 years later. Of the group, only the former leader, Jim Tichenor, has remained what you'd consider a counter-culture revolutionary (he's essentially living as a hermit). Meanwhile, Jim's former sweetheart, Danny Silver, is now a mother and aerobics instructor.
Not that their breakup was all that different from Cathy Shaw and Jeff Golden he's now a touring author and radio host, while she is also a mother and serves as her community's mayor.
She's not alone in civil-service work, however. Barry Wasserman is also a mayor, and Moss catches up to him in the midst of his re-election campaign.
To be fair, it is interesting to see where some of the group's members have wound up. But their whininess and humdrum daily lives aren't interesting for very long especially when it takes up the bulk of this surprisingly flabby movie (despite its brief length).
And at times it almost seems as if Moss is showing his friends the earlier footage to get a rise out of them. Not that it does.
"The Same River Twice" is not rated but would probably receive an R for full male and female nudity, drug content (talk about marijuana and peyote use), scattered use of strong sexual profanity and some frank sexual talk. Running time: 78 minutes.
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