5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
An Acting Showcase
Crap_Connoisseur from Australia
20 August 2006
If Tomorrow Comes is an unusual film, distinguished by surprisingly
strong performances from an excellent cast. The film is low-budget and
some of the technical aspects are quite poor. I often got the feeling
that the film had not been completely finished or had faced problems in
post-production. Nevertheless, If Tomorrow Comes is worth watching as a
showcase for the many fine actors involved.
The film begins with a jumble of poorly filmed flashback sequences.
Adam (Dave Buzzotta) appears to have suffered some kind of sexual abuse
as a child. The exact situation remains unclear but the lasting effects
of Adam's childhood trauma could not be any more apparent. Adam is lost
soul, who consoles himself by listening to answering machine messages
from his estranged father. Adam's best friend since childhood, Devin
(James Franco) is equally damaged. His life revolves around caring for
his disabled brother, pulling needles out of his junkie step-mother and
avoiding his abusive father. The film works exceedingly well when it is
content to examine Adam and Devin's unusual friendship. If Tomorrow
Comes shows male relationships in a new light. The handling of their
love for the same girl, Kobe, is free from all the usual clichés and
alpha male stereotypes. Unfortunately, the film is far less successful
when it pursues a ridiculous gangster subplot.
It's a shame that the writer/director, Gerrit Steenhagen, decided to
spice up what could have been an intriguing character study with
ludicrous action elements and an even more bizarre porn subplot.
Apparently, Adam has been coerced into making pornos by Devin's father
in the past. Devin's dad demands that Adam partake in another skin
flick or repay him $37,000 in one week. The penalty of not complying is
death. This subplot opens up a Pandora's Box of loose ends and
unbelievable events. There is the highly coincidental choice of Serena
as Adam's proposed porn partner, Adam's completely illogical behaviour,
the misplaced comedic relief from the heavies sent to threaten Adam,
Devin's duel role as Adam's bodyguard/proposed executioner and Devin's
father's completely unexplained obsession with getting Adam in front of
the camera. Basically, this entire subplot is on the nose. Apart from
not making any sense, this detour into "Boogie Nights"/Quentin
Tarantino territory is marred by poorly filmed action sequences,
confused plotting and terrible dialogue. It's hard to believe this
section of the film was written by the same man responsible for Devin's
genuinely touching scenes with his brother. Their incredibly depressing
Easter egg hunt packs far more punch than all the gangster scenes put
The glue that holds this disjointed film together is the consistently
excellent quality of the acting. Dave Buzzotta is perfectly world weary
as Adam. His apathy is as palpable as his affection for Devin and Kobe.
However, the real revelation is James Franco. I had basically written
him off as the poor man's Freddie Prinze Jr (harsh, I know) after
watching his awful performances in the likes of "Spiderman" and
"Sonny". This is by far his best role since "Freaks and Geeks". If
Tomorrow Comes would have been filmed at around the same time.
Hopefully, he can regain some of this form because his performance as
Devin is fantastic. The same can be said of James Madio, who plays
Devin's brother, and Helene Udy, who makes Serena so much more than the
typical "hooker with a heart of gold".
You could drive a semi-trailer through some of the holes in "If
Tomorrow Comes". The direction is basic and the movie sometimes looks
like it was filmed on a cheap mobile phone. Despite these faults, If
Tomorrow Comes manages to be an insightful and memorable character
study. This is definitely worth searching out.
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