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The story of Eli Smith (Jesse Eisenberg), a piano prodigy, dealing with his troubled mother, Penny (Melissa Leo), and enlisting help from a hapless drug dealer, Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan), on the day he has an audition for a prestigious music program. Events spiral comically out of control as this gang of misfits faces the mistakes of the past, the challenges of the future, and the possibilities of love. Written by
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When he's with Chloe after the Revolutionary War re-enactment, the bandages are gone from Eli's right hand, and there is no indication of any injury whatsoever. He's wearing the bandages again, though, at the audition the next day. See more »
The three lead actors all play to their strengths: Jesse Eisenberg as the gifted prodigy who must overcome his weaknesses, Tracy Morgan as the off-kilter small town drug dealer who succumbed to his, and best, Melissa Leo as a druggie mom trying (and not trying) to keep her self and her family together. The movie kind of has a Weeds meets the Station Agent vibe to it as disparate characters are thrown together and learn to get along. The weakness might be in the writing. Some scenes feel contrived as if to move along the plot, while others are great set pieces. There is a Revolutionary War re-enactors subplot that seems thrown in to give the movie some additional quirkiness (Mr. Black's Miss Muppet line is funny). Tracy Morgan throws in some good ad-libs (when he bumps up against Leo's mom is when the movie starts to hit the mark). Eisenberg can get annoying (or maybe it's just the characters he plays). All in all a good if not great little indie movie.
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