So if Borat Sagdiyev had been a British vegetarian who thought all chain stores were an embodiment of The Man -- nah, that's a totally unfair way to describe America Unchained, which screened at Austin Film Festival. The narrator of this documentary is far less over-the-top than Borat, but he's still engaging enough to save the film from terminal earnestness.
British comedy writer/performer Dave Gorman is our tour guide on this film. He tells us that the last time he took a tour of the United States, he was booked in big-chain hotels and ended up eating primarily in chain restaurants. He decides that this time he wants to see the "real" America, so he plans to drive from L.A. to New York (coast to coast) without giving any money to "The Man" -- no buying from any kind of chain, be it a hotel, fast-food restaurant or most difficult of all, a gas station. Gorman and his original director/camera operator set off from California in a car they didn't buy from a chain, either ... a 1975 Torino station wagon, which looks like the family car from my childhood when we took long road trips ourselves (not unlike the Griswolds in the first Vacation movie).