Jim (Casey Affleck) has just returned home to his parents house in the Midwest. Being an aspiring writer who loved living in Manhattan, this is cruel and unusual punishment. However, his two part time jobs didn't pay the bills so, thank goodness, Mother Sally (Mary Kay Place) is happy to see him. Father Don (Seymour Cassel) is less enthusiastic, probably because the couple's other son, Tim (Kevin Corrigan) is living with them, too, thanks to divorce and a low-paying job. Naturally, the parents urge Jim to "do something", after the first few days, so the young man reluctantly accepts a job at the factory run by his mother. He also meets a beautiful, single-parent nurse, Anika (Liv Tyler) at a local watering hole and they begin a relationship of convenience. But, nothing ever seems to make Jim come out of his perpetual "funk" and he fails to connect with anyone, except perhaps a pot smoking co-worker. Will Jim bring everyone around him down, too, even his always-sunny mom? Can he get his "act together"? Viewers who put this into their DVD players may not feel like watching after the first half hour. It is fairly depressing, despite some sporadic but successful "gallows" humor. However, those who choose to stick it out may appreciate the sharp life observations. The cast is really very nice, with Affleck doing a truly great job in a difficult role. Place, Cassel, Tyler, Corrigan and the other lesser role players are impressive, too. Appropriately, the setting is fairly nondescript and won't charm anyone while the costumes are well-chosen but far from attractive. The script has its moments of humor and pathos, almost too real for comfort. Then, too, the slow pace and undistinguished edit hurt its success, too. There are some fun moments, as when Jim goes bar hopping among the three local watering holes, named Riki's 1, 2 and 3. But, all in all, this is a grim flick, which will never earn the word "entertainment". Therefore, stay away, unless you are a fan of the cast or a serious student of film-making. Lonesome Jim will ultimately attract only a few "lone wolf" admirers.
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