Here’s a good film for Father’s Day – a little heist movie where John Travolta tries to pull off an art scam while spending time with his father and son.
The incomparable Christopher Plummer plays the grandfather, and the young and talented Tye Sheridan (“Mud”) plays the son.
Overall, the story mopes around a bit in gritty underbellies without much substance, but it’s also a return to form for Travolta. He’d fallen into bombastic acting tactics instead of the toolbox full of skills that once made him a star.
Unfortunately, the heist segments of this movie are the weakest scenes. The film truly shines when Plummer and Sheridan share the screen with Travolta. There’s a nice generational chemistry you can’t fake, and that makes this one barely worth a watch.
Writer/director Thomas McCarthy is great at highlighting unlikely actors. It started by giving Peter Dinklage his first starring role in 2003’s “The Station Agent.” In 2007, he gave the consummate supporting actor, Richard Jenkins, the spotlight in “The Visitor.” Paul Giamatti didn’t become a headliner with 2011’s “Win Win,” but Giamatti isn’t your typical leading man.
Now, McCarthy goes in a new direction by redirecting the king of cornball comedies, Adam Sandler. Father’s play a part in this one too as Sandler plays a cobbler who runs a shop, passed down from his father.
He’s depressed until he discovers a magical gadget that allows him to become the owner of the shoes he tries on. McCarthy’s tone is more sober than Sandler’s usual movies. There are silly moments sprinkled in, but the pacing is less frantic, and the comedy is more subdued than Sandler’s last 10 outings.
This is Sandler’s 10th film with Steve Buscemi. There’s a weird chemistry there, and Method Man’s dismal acting doesn’t ruin any scenes. McCarthy or Sandler cobble together enough to make this barely worth a watch.
“Welcome to Me”
Since leaving “Saturday Night Live,” Kristen Wiig hasn’t been complacent with her career decisions. She’s worked in the big comedies like “Bridesmaids” with low-key dramedies, and this is her best dramedy yet.
Wiig plays a woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder that wins the lottery, goes off her meds and buys a talk show to air out her issues. The quirky script plays into Wiig’s strengths. She takes the role and runs with it.
Great veteran performers like Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Robbins add brushstrokes of vivid colors. The often underestimated James Marsden and Wes Bentley pull off over-the-top and understated, often in the same scene. This all goes to show how important casting can be – the pieces fit terrifically here. It’s a strange little film and definitely worth a watch.