(director/writer: Bob Meyer; screenwriters: play by Bob Meyer/Randy Buescher; cinematographer: Lisa Rinzler; editors: Mario Battistel/Michael Rafferty; music: Mark Ribof; cast: Jacob Zachar(Abe), John Malkovich(Mort Gleason), John Goodman (Fletcher), Skipp Sudduth (Earl), Jim Ortlieb (Morley), Dana Delaney (Eileen), Brian Dineen (David), Steve Haggard (Moo); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Steven Jones/Dan Walker; Seven Arts Films; 2010)
“Not even Malkovich could save such a leaky film, one that never stays afloat long enough to maintain an adequate focus on the family issues it raises.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Bob Meyer mawkishly directs this inert coming-of-age indie drama based on his own off-Broadway play and his own life experiences, which he flatly co-writes with Randy Buescher.
The always engaging John Malkovich gives a ludicrous but eye-catching performance as the pathetic alcoholic Uncle Mort, trying to reconnect with his estranged widower sister Eileen (Dana Delaney) by proving he can be sober. She lives with her gentle but dim teenage son Abe (Jacob Zachar), in a modest house in the Chicago suburbs. That’s where Mort returns to his childhood home, after left beaten in an alley from an incident at a Detroit bar where he witnessed his oldest missing nephew beaten. Mort’s visit has him stand in front of a fire hydrant outside his sister’s house for a long time until his sister relents and lets him stay with her for awhile if he obeys her no drinking rules. Meanwhile Abe dreams of buying a sail boat to sail around the world with his best friend (Brian Dineen), a boat he plans on buying as soon as mom leaves for a few days and he can dupe Mort into signing the contract as the adult needed to finalize it. The boat picked out by Abe is a water-logged one that won’t sail, that is sold to him by the con man Fletcher (John Goodman) as his latest hustle. Fletcher covers up the boat’s blotches with plaster of Paris in hopes of finding a sucker to sell it to who knows nothing about boats and that once painted with plaster of Paris will sink when it’s in the water. Fletcher’s s silent partner Morley (Jim Ortlieb), can’t believe anyone is dumb enough to buy the boat.
Not even Malkovich could save such a leaky film, one that never stays afloat long enough to maintain an adequate focus on the family issues it raises.
REVIEWED ON 10/17/2017 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/