It is just impossible in this day and age to make a sincere John Ford-style Western with plain-spoken folk holding guns while talking solemnly about “land” and “family” — unless, maybe, you’re making a TV ad for Sarah Palin. It’s even harder to do this straight-faced when your film involves robots, but that’s exactly what director Jake Paltrow attempts to do.

Like “Interstellar,” “Young Ones” is set in a future dustbowl America that looks a lot like Tatooine from “Star Wars.”

Hardscrabble farmer Ernest (Michael Shannon) is sure he can get his land producing crops again if only he can convince the corrupt local authorities to divert a water pipeline through his property. In the meantime, he kills anyone stealing from his well, teaches his son and daughter (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Elle Fanning) the realities of life, and busts on his daughter’s shiftless biker beau named — seriously — Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult).

Young Ones (Mad Guns)
Director Jake Paltrow
Language English
Opens March 28

Fanning and Hoult’s performances are terrible, which isn’t helped by repeated close-ups of their ineptitude. After some laughable action scenes, portentous dialogue and a cheesy soundtrack, you’ll be wishing you had rented Sean Connery’s “Outland.”

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