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Duane Hopwood (2005)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  20 January 2005 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,024 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 37 user | 14 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

A down-on-his-luck divorced father struggles to get his life and family back together before it's too late.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Wally
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Fred
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Female Judge
Marty Dunn ...
Beefy Bartender
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Jake
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Anthony
Jim Fyfe ...
Linda's Lawyer
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Linda
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Carl
Joan Griffith ...
Mrs. Wakely
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Tommy
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Bob Flynn
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Gina
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Storyline

A down-on-his-luck, divorced father works the night shift at an Atlantic City casino. When his relationship with his young daughters and ex-wife is jeopardized by a run-in with the law, he struggles to get his life - and family - back together before it's too late. A moving and humorous look at the limits of unconditional love and what defines a family. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the odds are against you, your best bet is a second chance...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

20 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Não é Uma Roleta  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,519 (USA) (11 November 2005)

Gross:

$13,510 (USA) (16 December 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming took only 21 days, and was shot entirely in Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, Longport and Ocean City, New Jersey. See more »

Connections

References Alien (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

LET'S TALK DIRTY IN HAWAIIAN
Written by Fred Koller and John Prine
Performed by John Prine
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group (BMI) / Spoondevil Music and Pink Sky Music
Administered by Bug Music, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Oh Boy Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Daddy let me go
27 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is a certain freedom when you lose everything you ever cared about in life. It sounds insane, I know. But it simplifies the process of life. It means you can start from scratch... A clean slate if you will.

"Duane Hopwood" (David Schwimmer) first loses his sobriety, then his wife and two daughters, then his job, then his hope and comes dangerously close to losing his will to live. At the custody hearing, he tells the judge that he "needs a reason to stay".

The only thing Duane doesn't lose is the unconditional love of his daughters and the loyalty of a very quirky group of friends.

What is so skillful about this film is the way in which it balances our sympathy for Duane's tragic situation with our understanding that Duane is the cause of his own problems and the only one who can remedy them.

The pivot, around which the film's emotional power revolves, is the quite magnificent transformation of David Schwimmer from the almost unshakable familiarity of his role as Ross on NBC's 'Friends' to this ever so sad and bedraggled ex-husband and father who is desperate to stop the sand slipping through his fingers. This is absolutely a career transforming role that, surprisingly to me, certifies that he has a very promising film career as a dramatic actor in front of him. If enough people see this film, he will be reaping the rewards with great parts for years to come.

Janeane Garofalo also delivers in an atypical role. As Duane's estranged wife, she delicately balances the cold-hearted reality of wanting to move on with her life and the sympathetic understanding of someone who knows him better than anyone else. Her role could so easily have drifted into cynical and clichéd 'mean ex-wife' territory... but this film is too smart to go down that path.

There are some truly fine performances from the supporting cast members. Judah Friedlander & Susan Lynch are both very good as Duane's new support system. Friedlander plays Anthony, an aspiring comedian who becomes Duane's roommate. Lynch is Duane's first girlfriend since getting divorced. Each of them change the pace of the film nicely and add depth and nuance to an already powerful story.

I also want to point out the girls who play Duane's kids. So often I complain that bad performances from kids can ruin the believability of a film... However, Ramya Pratt & Rachel Covey are both splendid here.

This film feels like a cross between "The Family Man" and "Leaving Las Vegas"... an odd combination indeed. But it works on so many levels. I laughed during this film. I shed tears in the final act. I cared about each and every character. It is a tremendously well written screenplay, and it is acted with precision.

This is a small independent feature that really deserves a wide audience. Unfortunately, it will have trouble finding one because it doesn't have a huge publicity campaign behind it or 75 copies lining the shelves of DVD stores. I can only hope that word of mouth and positive reviews like mine will convince a few people to seek this film out. If they do, they will find a diamond in the rough and will be telling all their friends about it too.


18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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