Years ago, Scott left common lover Katherine at the altar to become a hedonistic junkie. She married his brother William, a successful Louisiana workaholic, who sired a daughter but probably not bright nerd son Charles and is serially adulterous on his many business trips. Now Scott returns on horseback, having lost his drivers permit, inviting himself and proving a popular, yet unreliable uncle for Charles. Making up with father is impossible due to Alzheimer. As Scott keeps surprising his family, his sad secret emerges. Written by
I rather enjoyed this film. It's too bad it seems to have been given a half hearted production. The film has so much going for it, but seems to have stopped short of what it would have taken to really make a go of it, namely, cohesion and a really good edit. There were some problems with continuity too. Was Scott gone 9 or 10 years because both were mentioned and it turns out to matter. Mr. Phillippe's Scott seemed to also have had a tattoo that came and went. It's those little things that show a lack of attention that reflect a failure of what? Talent? Devotion? Funding? I don't know. But the end product is unpolished. In fact it plays better as a series of scenes than as one film. It tells the story of one family, William(Luke Wilson), his wife Katherine(Anna Paquin), and their two young children. The marriage is struggling. They have all the trappings of wealth and status but William is constantly away on business and Katherine is becoming robotic and cold, just going through the motions. The children are responding with eccentric behavior. Charles, for instance, wears a suit and carries a brief case to elementary school. There is also William's father(Powers Boothe) living nearby who has succumbed to Alzheimer's. But most importantly for this film, there is William's brother, Scott(Ryan Phillippe), who has been missing for some years but shows up one afternoon riding a horse onto the property. This film is classified as a comedy and it is funny, but in the old fashioned comedic method of amusing circumstances rather than manic behavior or convoluted plots. The comedic circumstances all center around the character of the prodigal brother, Scott. He is definitely the cuckoo in the nest of this buttoned down family. He drinks too much, smokes pot and has very little censor. He is utterly charming man, but immature and often inappropriate, especially in his vocabulary. He soon wins over the children and has Katherine struggling with feelings she once had for him. Scott has returned home at the request, he insists, of his dead mother who tells him he is needed. And except for total lack of conformity and his habit of lighting up a joint and/or a cigarette constantly as well as trying to drink the drink cabinet dry, he's not a bad house guest. However that's not how Katherine sees it, he's rather more spontaneous than she can tolerate. Yet we see that people are like moths to his flame, and Katherine is no more immune than her children. I found the acting really well done, not surprising given the cast, but the supporting cast doesn't lag behind either. (How they managed to cast a little girl who looks so much like she could be Anna Paquin's daughter I don't know.) The musical score added much to the atmosphere. I'm a big fan of well done musical scores. I've mentioned this is funny; I laughed out loud several times while watching it. I enjoyed this film. It's been a long time since I saw Ryan Phillippe act with child actors and I want to point out that he does it singularly well. Overall his portrayal of Scott drives the whole film. But I'd have liked this effort to be more than a direct to video pass off. It seems a betrayal of all the work and talent that went into it. And last but not least the ending is a really hackneyed cliché. Hate that.
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