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Lonesome Jim (R)

Release Date: March 24th, 2006 (IFC Center) by IFC Films.
The Cast: Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place, Seymour Cassel, Kevin Corrigan, Jack Rovello, Mark Boone Junior, Rachel Strouse, Sarah Strouse.
Directed by Steve Buscemi.

BASIC PREMISE: Jim (Affleck), an unsuccessful and lonely 27-year-old man, moves back home with his parents.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Jim leads an aimless, unexciting life. When he moves in with his mother (Place) and father (Cassel) in their small suburban Indiana home, still, nothing happens. While substituting as a gym coach for his brother Tim (Corrigan), Jim finally gets a chance to have some romance in his life when he meets Anika (Tyler), a single parent who also happens to be a nurse. After Tim “accidentally” crashes his car into a tree and survives, Jim blames himself for the “accident”. Of course, Anika becomes Tim’s nurse and much more than that, but Tim seems just as boring as his brother. Fortunately, the lively script by James C. Strouse adds a few very witty lines of dialogue along with some off-beat humor. A subplot regarding Jim’s troublesome, deceptive cousin feels out-of-place in the second half of the film—it’s as if Strouse decided to add some last-minute plot tension to the screenplay. The third act ultimately feels too contrived and ties things up too neatly to be truly believable. Affleck’s deadpan performance gets tiresome after a while and, even when he loosens up a bit, he still comes across as a cold and stiff character—much unlike Tyler, who shines as the warm and always-smiling Anika. Director Steve Buscemi, who wisely shoots the film in digital, should have played Jim instead of Casey Affleck.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A very contrived third act.


IN A NUTSHELL: Despite some witty, off-beat and eccentric humor, the plot becomes unrealistic, contrived and even conventional.


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