An academic obsessed with "roadside attractions" and his tv-star daughter finally discover the worlds largest ice cream cone, the centerpiece for an old gold-rush town struggling to stay on the map. They end up staying longer than expected because of an accident that spilled an unknown cola ingredient all over the highway. They spend the next few days with the various residents of the town which include a teenage girl who loves to blow things up and a boy trying to keep alive his fathers dream of building a beachside resort in the middle of the desert.
Baxter, California, is the fictional home of the worlds largest ice cream cone; thats where cable TV starlet Skye (Kate Hudson) gets stuck with her father (John Heard), a professor studying roadside attractions, when a truck carrying the secret ingredient of a new cola overturns and is suspected of being environmentally hazardous. Desert Blues wisp of a plot centers around this possible toxic spill and a suspicious motel fire, but the heart of the movie lies in the aimless but cheerful activities of the towns teens, played by Brendan Sexton III (Welcome to the Dollhouse), Sara Gilbert (from TVs Roseanne), and Christina Ricci (The Opposite of Sex). After the EPA quarantines the town, Skye finds herself making friends with the local kids. These kids may be eccentrics--Riccis character builds bombs and her boyfriend (Casey Affleck) is obsessed with racing all-terrain vehicles--but their quirks spring from the boredom that afflicts all isolated small towns; they just refuse to succumb. The movies second greatest strength arises from the landscape. The movie doesnt make the desert majestic, as a John Ford Western might. Instead, the scrubby underbrush and blowing sand seem almost intimate; even if youve never lived in the Southwest, Desert Blue makes the countryside seem like home. Its a modest movie, but it makes modesty a virtue.