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Nice 'little' movie... "the key to getting ahead is getting started!"
"Better Living Through Chemistry" (2014 release; 92 min.) brings the story of Doug Varney (played by Sam Rockwell), who is stuck in an unhappy marriage, and who has just bought the pharmacy from his father-in-law. One evening, Doug is making house deliveries of prescriptions, and one of those deliveries is to a McMansion, where the doorbell is answered by Elizabeth, a beautiful yet bored and unhappy housewife (played by Olivia Wilde). It's not long before Doug and Elizabeth hit it off, setting Doug on a path of personal discovery. In a parallel story, Doug is dealing with his 12 year old son who is going through a tough stretch himself. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, this is the big screen debut of Geoff Moore and David Posamentier, who co-directed and also co-wrote this original screenplay. Second, this is one of those 'little' indie movies that just could, as the movie doesn't take itself too seriously yet before you know it 90 min. have come and gone. Third, the character of Doug is of course crucial to the success of the movie. Originally schedule to be played by Jeremy Renner (who bowed out due to schedule conflicts), Sam Rockwell, whom we saw excel just last year in "The Way, Way Back", gives a commanding performance as Doug, and basically carries the movie on his shoulders. There are many other smaller choice roles, including of course Olivia Wilde, but check out also Ray Liotta as the husband of Elizabeth (max 15 min. of screen time), and Jane Fonda as herself at the very end (in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it role). Fourth, the movie was filmed in and around Annapolis, MD, which looks just gorgeous. Last but not least, there are a lot of great songs in the movie soundtrack, including Donovan's "Season of the Witch" and lots of indie music. But Queens of the Stone Age's "Better Living Through Chemistry" is NOT in the movie.
This movie opened today without any pre-release fanfare or hype at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati. The matinée showing I saw this at was surprisingly well attended, given the low profile of the movie and the simultaneous release on Amazon Instant Video. All that aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. "Better Living Through Chemistry" is definitely worth checking out, be it in the theater, on DVD or on Amazon Instant Video.
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