Sam The Man

Director: Gary Winick

An official selection at the Hamptons Film Festival and Resfest, Tadpole and 13 Going on 30 director Gary Winick crafts a compelling but uneven showcase for his leading man Fisher Stevens with this familiar feeling independent film about a novelist who, after the smash critical and popular success of his first novel, has been struggling to finish his second book which seems to be an autobiographical look at his struggle to commit and remain faithful to his beautiful photographer fiancĂ© Cass (Annabella Sciorra). While it’s hard to care about Sam the Cad as he goes from one self-involved rant or failure to the next such as declining a tenured position as a professor from Rob Morrow, paying off his landlord Luis Guzman with artwork from his walls, alienating his writer friend John Slattery and publisher Ron Rifkin, or cheating with a married realtor Maria Bello, Stevens somehow keeps us watching, although more time should have been spent exhibiting the man’s talent as an author aside from a few throwaway lines that try to make us get a whiff of his purported importance. Bonus points can be given to the work which has a bittersweet ending that feels earned instead of protracted and movie “happy,” however we’re a bit dismayed that we spent so much time with Sam as our tour guide when some of the other characters in the film (including the ones played by Slattery and Morrow who receive notably less screen time) seem to hold our attention and may have provided a more refreshing storyline than the standard cliche of the egomaniacal blocked philandering writer and a few scenes that feel like they were taken right out of a Woody Allen film.