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The Talent Given Us (2004)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 11 June 2004 (USA)
A retired New York City couple drive across country to reconnect with their reclusive son, joined by their two unmarried daughters.



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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Allen Wagner ...
Judy Wagner ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Insomnia Cafe Friend (as Rob Adetuyi)
Tom Hines ...
Disgruntled Actor
Tony Pepe ...
Meditation Teacher


Judy and Allen are 70 years old, retired now, and at that point in their unremarkable marriage and lives that the farthest the day calls them from the crossword puzzle is to the Fairway supermarket. On one such excursion they run into two of their son Andrew's teachers from high school who want Andrew to return to New York to teach at his alma mater. Judy promises to pass the offer along, concealing the disappointment that she rarely speaks to her son. In the day that follows she spirals into a regret which ends in her epiphany to remedy her relationship with him. Immediately. And face-to-face. But since she's terrified of flying they must drive. Across the country to Los Angeles. Along for what began as a casual drive to the beach, Judy and Allen's two unmarried, thirty-something daughters, Emily and Maggie, find themselves roped into this odyssey. Even though Allen doesn't tear up the road, all the family and marital dirt is dug up. Written by Andrew Wagner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A character driven comedy


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated


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11 June 2004 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Andrew's Parents as Human Shield Against Criticism
27 January 2006 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I am more and more disappointed by the quality of 'independent films' that appear ever more often on Sundance Channel (where I saw this film), and IFC, and with the honesty of reviews found on this website.

As far as Sundance and IFC go - I simply have to assume that ever since the 'independent' genre made it big, finding quality programming that draws an audience without having to pay great sums must be becoming increasingly difficult.

As far as the reviews on this website go I feel that films, especially small films like this, are reviewed favorably primarily because of shills. Maybe they are friends of the filmmaker, and family members, etc. And you know, if I were a filmmaker, I would certainly enlist those I know to do the same.

The truth is this film is pretty bad, and pretty unwatchable, and if I cast my mom and dad in a movie (and they are in many ways like the couple in the film), my film would undoubtedly be pretty bad too. But you see - I would never take my home movies to Sundance, and pitch them shamelessly to further my career (or lack thereof).

I feel sorry for Andrew's parents - who probably just want to see their son succeed in this business - but their acting was awful - although 'realistic', to be sure.

In fact the 'professional actors (there are very few people in reality who are)' in this film, oddly, seemed 'more real' than the director/writer's real parents. But somehow at some level I think that the director may have chosen his parents as his 'human shield' against criticism of this film.

But it's not just bad acting, it's bad editing, and I guess, my inability to suspend disbelief at everything happening in this film that ruins this film.

The bottom line - a bad film that ends up, inexplicably on Sundance, because it probably cost them little to nothing to get it, and well, the director gets the visibility.

Someone needs to set this film straight for other users.

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