It’s not surprising that Little Birds, the feature film debut of writer-director Elgin James, was one of the most buzzed-about films at the Sundance Film Festival. The story of teenage girls drifting through life set against the awesome, shriveled up landscape of Salton Sea, California, the picture packs in the Amer-indie cliches. There are aimless youths, helpless parents, dreamy evocations of the unattainable world outside a car window and an engulfing sense of the worn down detritus of small town American life, past its peak. Yet the whole enterprise is an exercise in wheel-spinning, a plodding picture rife with familiar characters and situations, rendered with a nasty edge. It’s a brutish experience that puts star Juno Temple through an emotional and physical ringer, without the sort of larger, unifying purpose that justifies such turmoil.