A hustler who brags about how he lives off of $5 a day convinces his son to drive him to New Mexico because he is dying and needs to get treatment there. The cross-country trip proves adventurous and hilarious as the father gets the pair into unbelievable situations. It also surprises as a father-son bonding movie rarely seen these days. Not a typical type male bonding movie, but it rings true at times.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this film. Sharon Stone and Christopher Walken haven’t done anything that impressed me in recent times. I like them, but in the film world you’re as good as your last roles. Surprisingly, the movie proves to charm and make you laugh with some drama thrown in as well. The movie is not so much a romantic-comedy as it is a father-son comedy/drama where the pair bonds on a road trip. The romance comes between Nivola and Peet’s characters who are split because of his reaction to his father reaching out to him and other scams Ritchie pulls.
Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, The Deer Hunter) turns in one of his best all-around roles. He proves to be funny and serious when the movie requires it. One scene, near the end of the film, has his serious acting talents on display, but I can’t reveal it without spoiling the story. Alessandro Nivola (The Eye, Face/Off) is fairly impressive here as the son who seriously doubts his father’s sincerity. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, Casino) has a nice small role here as a sort of mother/lover figure for the father/son duo. Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards, 2012, Identity) is Nivola’s wife Maggie in cameos throughout the movie.
This is as much a road trip movie as it is a father-son bonding film. You get some enjoyment out of the road trip part, but I think the best part is the heart that lies with the father-son storyline. Walken's portrayal of a father that is hard to decipher and completely unpredictable propells the movie where the weakness of the plot fails to do so. There are lots of surprises and very few predictable moments such as Walken's fate. Walken does a fantastic job of playing a character you can't quite figure out and therein lies the strength of the movie with Walken's character being the central piece that becomes more meaningful as the film progresses.
Ultimately, the film is surprisingly good with a lot of laughs and some sad moments as well. It’s a heart-warming drama that will appeal to couples and the 30+ crowd who have matured and become family-oriented. It would make a nice rental for some looking for a good movie with a little bit of a different-than-normal style. Not a bad buy on Blu-ray (say that ten times fast) as long as it comes a few bucks more than the price tag of the movie’s title. I'd buy at $7-10 On Sale.
Special Features -
- Director and Cast Interviews
- Still Galleries
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