Double crosses, adultery, murder, mistaken identity, and revenge ensue when a mysterious power player and his sultry wife hire a disgraced Los Angeles property broker to discreetly market and sell their Malibu villa.
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
Newly graduated psychiatrist Sam and his fiancee Alex move to Los Angeles for Sam's residency and into Sam's mother's house in upscale Laurel Canyon. Only problem is, Sam's mother is still there, supposedly finishing up a record that she's producing for the band of her new boy toy, Ian. She seems more interested in smoking pot and drinking than actually working though. Alex doesn't mind but Sam is quite upset. Alex starts off focused on her work (finishing a dissertation on genomics), but is soon distracted by the rock-'n-roll lifestyle going on around her. Meanwhile, Sam is equally distracted by beautiful Israeli intern Sara.Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you were privy to the Laurel Canyon lifestyle in the 60s and 70s, this film is like a retro shock with all the old familiar haunts still there, and the inevitable lost generation of 20 somethings wandering the deer trail lanes of traffic to hang with the musicians. At least, this is how the premise of the 2002 version of the canyon lifestyle is reflected. Between the generation of hippie organic mama (Frances McDormand) and her predictably uptight conservative doctor son (Christian Bale) and his uber egghead grad student girlfriend (Kate Beckinsale) are the silences of a parent who did her thing and a son who didn't.
Literally caught between them is the luscious Beckinsale, who comes to enjoy the hedonism the mother's world of music and a young lover (Allessando Nivola) present. She likes the pot, pool parties, and 3-somes while her fiancé dallies with the sublimated lust for a professional colleague (Natasha McElhone) who is more his cup of straight-laced tea. His resentment of mom's ability to be cool and productive clash with his inability to make decisions about his own lifestyle choices, a serious wife-in-training, his medical practice, and the possibility of affairs with other women. He is as much drawn to sin and swinging as Kate. The tension of the six characters makes the story of kids and their parents failure to communicate as old as the perennial hills.
Great soundtrack with vocals by Nivola and recording sessions are added plus. McDormand is one of the finest character actors around, and she rises to the challenge of taking back seat to Beckinsale's beauty. Nevertheless, McDormand steals the show every time she is on screen. We don't care about the young couple, we care about the three-way between mother, her lover, and her son's lover...that's Hollywood!
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