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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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Funny little comedy with some meaningful dramatic moments and some self-help ideas incorporated, "Why Stop Now" has Jesse Eisenberg playing Eli, a piano prodigy who's struggling to enter into a great music school (which he can get it by performing at an audition) and many problems to solve at home, one them is to take his mother (Melissa Leo) to a rehabilitation clinic to cure her drug addiction. However, when she's rejected there due to her results came back negative from drug use, Eli will find a way to put her in there even if it takes to meet her messy drug suppliers (Tracy Morgan and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and join them in a bizarre journey and a very unlikely friendship between everyone involved.
Kind of a funny story yet a very strange proposition the directors and writers are making to us. The whole thing involving Eli trying to put his mom in the hospital in such a hurried and problematic way would work better in a dramatic piece; in here, it almost gets controversial, not comical and it slows the film a little. But it manages to stay positive and be positive, anyway. It's more about being just a barrel of laughters, it has a purpose. It's a story about taking chances, doing some changes in the game and be focused in what you really want. The characters are all driven to those things, into rebuilding the moment in which they are to become better individuals. Sounds corny but it doesn't look all that, and there's plenty of humored moments to fill in the middle of those helpful parts. I think this could be said of this film: it's a group therapy located out of a rehabilitation center and with plenty of craziness in the between "sessions".
Worths giving a try more because of the stars in it than the plot itself (this story made a few years ago would be great; now it's almost too much clichéd). Morgan makes almost his usual routine in terms of comedy except he has some good dramatic scenes; Whitlock was good, given a few good lines here and there, nothing like his priceless character in "Cedar Rapids"; and the best in the show are Leo and Eisenberg, mostly Jesse, who not only is the funniest on scene (thankfully to a lot of cussing moments and his fast delivery speech which always works nicely) but also he seems to be quite a skillful piano player, executing marvelous pieces.
Not amusing as it could and should be, or greatly bright in its serious issues, "Why Stop Now" is a fun picture, very handy these days when all you see is special effects thrown at you and no character development whatsoever. There's life in this. 8/10
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