Review – The Details


Product Details3 Stars

Since I didn’t really care about the hockey game tonight; even though it was game 7  of the L.A. Kings – San Jose Sharks quarter-final series; I decided to watch a movie again.  This time I picked up The Details, a dark comedy starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Kerry Washington, Dennis Haysbert and Ray Liotta.

Maguire stars as Doctor Jeff Lang with Banks as his wife Nealy.  Interestingly, Banks had her first major role as Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary, in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire as Spidey, and she worked with Maguire again in Seabiscuit.  Teaming up again ten years later, the two have fairly good chemistry on screen, but during their first scenes together, I could not think of Maguire as anything other than Peter Parker, now that I’ve learned of their shared Spider-Man history it makes a little more sense I suppose.  Maguire plays a very good “every man” but I think sometimes fell a little flat when it came to delivering the dark humour.  Ironically he did this a little better in the alternate opening and closing scenes from the DVD’s special features, but the actual opening and closing scenes were the better scenes for the movie.

Jeff and Nealy are living the life of a married couple just celebrating their tenth anniversary; raising their son, renovating their house and maintaining a new lawn in the backyard.  The Lang’s run into a string of bad luck, a family of raccoons has been tearing up the lawn and their request for a zoning variance on their addition has been turned down.  Not the worst of things, as Jeff attempts to buy off their neighbour Lila (Laura Linney), before she can become a problem with a house plant.  Feeling some stress Jeff goes and visits his friend Rebecca (Kerry Washington) a psychotherapist who shares some of her medicinal marijuana with him, and the two friends accidentally end up having sex.  Rebecca tells her husband (Ray Liotta) and he threatens to tell Nealy about the entire event unless Jeff pays him off.  To add to the frustrations, Jeff has accidentally killed Lila’s cat while trying to poison away his raccoon problem, which leads to another round of marital infidelity.  Jeff really is a nice guy, and is trying to do the right thing, he’s even donated his kidney to Lincoln (Dennis Haysbert), an older friend who he plays basketball with.  Seen by Lincoln, his family and even his church as a saint, Jeff is almost at the edge of the metaphorical cliff when he learns that Lila is pregnant with his child.  The worst part is that all Jeff’s problems began with his quest for a nice backyard.

The situations Jeff has worked himself into are darkly humorous, and really highlight the supporting cast.  I particularly enjoyed Dennis Haysbert’s character, and top marks also should be awarded to Laura Linney as the “crazy neighbour”.  The only thing that pulled this one down to three stars for me was that it seemed a little slow.  Though all the characters were necessary to play out the entire plot, it seemed like there was a bit too much going on, and wasn’t getting to where I hoped it would get fast enough.  Washington and Liotta were very good and I liked their characters, but they could have been easily written out and the movie would still have delivered what it was trying to deliver, but would probably be trimmed down by ten or fifteen minutes relieving my timing frustrations, but they are necessary to hash out some of the details in The Details…..and yup I did just use that pun.

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Posted on 13-05-29, in 3 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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