I love Tracy Letts. We’re all so lucky that he graces us with his writing and acting. He was one of the few things I liked about Indignation. In this movie, he’s totally miscast. He looks too much like a sad sack, and as my wife said, “I can’t buy this woman wanting him as a lover. He looks like he smells of BO and coffee breath.”
I’ve never been a fan of Debra Winger. She and William Hurt are the only two actors I say this about –it looks like it pains them to act. The only thing I’ve liked her in is Terms of Endearment. Even terrific movies like An Officer and a Gentleman were good despite her performance. And for all those critics that are going to go on and on about how this is her first starring role in 20 years — so what?! We all went nuts over seeing Goldie Hawn again, and she didn’t do much in Snatched. Critics were thrilled seeing Sally Field in My Name in Doris — and that was a big disappointment.
So perhaps Winger should stick to supporting roles, like the one she had in the terrific Rachel Getting Married. And I won’t even talk about her look. Her face looks like it morphed into Walter Mathau. It was just…odd to even look at her. It makes it even harder to believe that she’d have a much younger (Aiden Gillen of Game of Thrones) and good looking writer (despite his insecurities) interested in her; but you also wonder why Letts’ character got a much younger, and a bit neurotic, ballet dancer (Melora Walters).
Movies have been done about stale marriages and infidelity, but not many have dealt with a couple in the throes of infidelity that rekindle their relationship. That’s about the only original thing in the picture. The film score (Mandy Hoffman) would’ve felt original, if not for a similar thing being done in The Informant (Matt Damon). It’s bombastic symphonies sometimes, and violins the next. It tried to give a farcical feel to the proceedings, like this was some wacky TV show from the early ‘60s. If the movie wanted to be a farce, it needed to be funnier or a bit zany. Writer/director Azazel Jacobs’ (Terri) idea of zany, is having Letts come out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, and sitting on the bed next to his wife before they madly make love.
The movie wants us to know that this couple is bored in their marriage. The problem is…they’re also bored with their dead-end office jobs. And, they even seem bored in their respective affairs. And ya know what? You’ll be bored watching it.
The plot thickens when their son comes for a visit with his girlfriend. He’s prepped her on how miserable the folks are, but…now that they’re sleeping together again, they appear to be the perfect parents. Perhaps because the girlfriend (Jessica Sula of Split) is African-American it felt like a scene out of Get Out (minus the humor or thought provoking scenarios).
A lot of this uneven story was lazily written. It might have made a better stage play. Often times, it felt like a student film. Jacob is the son of experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs, who made a seven hour movie in 2004. This movie felt that long (and it was only 90 minutes).
You never get to know any of these characters, and you really don’t care to.
Among the various movie pet peeves…my wife hates when oral sex scenes on screen take place under the covers. She asked a few movies ago “Does anybody in real life do that, or just in films?”
I had bigger problems with their son ringing the doorbell. What kid does that when they return home to their folks’ place? And why didn’t one of the parents pick them up at the train station?
The biggest pet peeve is in movies where somebody is having an affair, and they call their lover while in their own driveway. Who would cut it that close?
Those are the least of my complaints, though.
During the morning screening, there were only a handful of other critics, and they all felt the same way.
This gets 0 stars.