movie film review | chris tookey

Around the Bend

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  Around the Bend Review
Tookey's Rating
3 /10
Average Rating
3.07 /10
Turner Lair: Christopher Walken , Jason Lair: Josh Lucas
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Directed by: Jordan Roberts
Written by: Jordan Roberts

Released: 2004
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 89

After the death of his grandfather (Michael Caine), Jason (Josh Lucas, pictured right), whoís an uptight banker on the brink of divorce, and his young son Zach (Jonah Bobo, left) get to know Jasonís criminal, former drug-addict father, Turner (Christopher Walken), as they go on a road trip from California to Mexico, to honor the old man's last wishes.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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A curious and unsatisfactory mixture of darkish comedy and male-bonding, letís-celebrate-the-family schmaltz.

Frankly, it takes a major leap of faith to imagine Christopher Walken as the son of Michael Caine, and the irritatingly contrived secondary characters donít ring true either. Thereís a lot of product placement for Kentucky Fried Chicken, for no good reason that I could see. Even more unappetising is the determination of writer-director Jordan Roberts to force-feed us tons of cloying sentiment and misjudged whimsy.

Around the Bend is obviously semi-autobiographical, so itís a mystery why Roberts doesnít make his central character more appealing. Josh Lucas canít do much with a man whoís awkward, unpleasant and difficult to empathise with. This picture won Walken the best actor award at the Montreal Film Festival, but my suspicion is that this was more a tribute to his long and likeably eccentric career than a reflection of his performance, which dominates the film but is hardly one of his best. Even though Around the Bend runs under 90 minutes, this road trip feels like a very long haul.

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