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$5 a Day (2008)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 11 January 2009 (USA)
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The son of a thrifty conman begrudgingly joins his father on the road.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Kruger
Real Estate Lady
Bar Manager
Gregory Chase ...
Reporter (as Greg Chase)
Tim Webber
Judith Greentree ...
IHOP Waitress


In L.A., Flynn Parker loses his job as a health inspector when his time in prison comes to light, his girlfriend Maggie moves out because of his prevarications, and his ne'er-do-well father, Nat, summons him to Atlantic City with a tale of a malignant cancer. Flynn doesn't like Nat, a small-time hustler and the cause of Flynn's jail time, but Nat cajoles his son into a cross-country trip through family memories toward New Mexico where an experimental treatment awaits. The trip is not just about the past, but whether either can tell the truth - and then what to do with those truths. From time to time, Flynn calls Maggie to leave messages. And what about Flynn's mother? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The best things in life are free! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Five Dollars More  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Sweet'N Low PT Cruiser carries New Jersey license plate "Sweeet" (with three e's). See more »


When Nat and Ritchie start out on their trip Nat makes Ritchie pull over quickly to get a hair cut. In the background you can see a toll booth. Later in the film you can see them swerve off the freeway with the same toll booth in the background. See more »


Ritchie Flynn Parker: You know what? You are completely insane. You're gone.
Nat Parker: Going, going, gone.
See more »


Features Old Yeller (1957) See more »


Many Happy Returns
Written by Andy Partridge
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User Reviews

The Idea May Not Be New, But This Film Is FRESH!
31 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

It seems like every year or so the cinema comes out with a 'road movie' - an extended revelation of character deficiencies and nobilities played out on the open road (such as 'La Strada', 'Easy Rider', 'Thelma and Louise', 'About Schmidt', 'Motorcycle Diaries', 'The Adventures of Felix', 'Central Station' etc). They usually do well at the box office as a type of catharsis for the audience. That '$5 A DAY', given an excellent script by writing team Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky, a director with the comic timing such as Nigel Cole, and one of the finest groomed casts around, wasn't a major hit is puzzling. Timing, I suppose, but at least we have the great opportunity to see this little jewel of a movie on DVD. By all means pay attention.

Richie Flynn Parker (the gem of an actor Allesandro Nivola who can play comedy as well as he handles drama) is unhappy: he is a conservative Health inspector of restaurants - fired when his police record is uncovered (he had taken the wrap for one of his father's capers), married to Maggie (Amanda Peet) who is leaving him because he never communicates about who he really is, and discovers a letter from his gallivanting grifter huckster father Nat Parker (Christopher Walken in a pitch perfect comedic role) who claims he is dying from a brain tumor and needs a ride to New Mexico for a special treatment. Because Flynn's life is such a mess he consents to go and he and his father set out in a 'Sweet and Low' advertising little auto. Nat shows how he can live on $5 a day by sleeping in empty homes, pulling shenanigans to get free food, entry into parties (Dean Cain plays an 'old acquaintance'), and money and gas. The two spar about why Nat was never there for Flynn, how their relationship is broken, and gradually Flynn discovers the realities of his background - realities he nightly shares on voicemail to his wife Maggie. Along the way the two make stops including a visit to Flynn's previous babysitter Dolores (Sharon Stone, better than ever!), a woman who knows how to bolster Nat's morale and brighten his life - as well as fill Flynn in on some important truths about his parental past. Flynn questions whether Nat really is dying or is just pulling off a scam to get a trip to New Mexico. But in Albuquerque Nat meets up with an old debtor Kruger, now wealthy because of Nat's assistance years ago, and in the process of correcting problems with the past, Flynn's true identity is revealed. What began as a raw, near hostile relationship between Nat and Flynn is transformed in a very touching manner.

It is such a pleasure to jump into the trip and go along with this entertaining ride with Walken and Nivola because they are so very fine in their roles that we feel like we know them well. The balance between hilarity and pathos is excellent and the quality of every aspect of this little Indie film is first class. Highly recommended!

Grady Harp

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