When it comes to friends getting older and drifting apart, “it’s a whole thing” as the two main characters in Scott Caan’s feature film debut would say.
Boasting an impressive performance by Shawn Hatosy, the actor whose turn recalls the early work of Chris Penn helps make this film jump from compelling to poignant in his turn as the mid-twenties Rusty.
As the movie opens, we discover that life with Rusty's fellow hard-living pal Dallas (Scott Caan) is beginning to not only drain on Rusty but may ultimately lead to irreparable harm or even death from their constant bar brawls and hustling as collectors for a local bookie. However, Rusty’s close and trusting bond with his widowed loving, protective mother Mary (Kelly Lynch) who refers to her son as her best friend leads Rusty to seek psychological counseling from Mary’s boyfriend Bob (a terrific Jeff Goldblum).
A laid back pot-smoking shrink found only in the movies, Bob warms to the articulate Rusty whose conflicting promise and loyalty to honorary brother Dallas is tested when Dallas concocts a dangerous scheme to commit robbery with questionable accomplices and very little information.
And although some of the grating roles, including Val Lauren as Christian whom The New York Times referred to as “an odd amalgam of Jerry Lewis and Sal Mineo,” but instead reminded me of Ratso Rizzo, do wear on the nerves as do the uncomfortable and never believable exchanges between the young men and the women they pick up, nonetheless Scott Caan shows immense talent.
This is especially evident given his innate understanding of a certain type of male coming-of-age while trying to live up to the hyper-masculine image of his idolized father (reminiscent perhaps of his real life dad James Caan), the knack for male dialogue along with creative camera trickery and cool cinematography that earned Scott Caan the Critics Award at the CineVegas International Film Festival.
Acclaimed by the BBC as a movie with “heart, wit and sheer class,” when viewed alongside his second film The Dog Problem, film fans will begin to realize that, in addition to the usually tough guy sidekick he plays in films like Brooklyn Rules and the Ocean’s Eleven series, Scott Caan has the makings of a truly promising writer/director.