Release Date: December 8th, 2006 by THINKfilm.
The Cast: Nick Nolte, Trevor Morgan, Timothy Hutton, Sally Kirkland, Timothy Hutton, Sonia Feigelson, Michael Higgins.
Directed by James Ponsoldt.
BASIC PREMISE: Ray (Nolte) befriends a teenager, Dave (Morgan), and pretends to be his father at his 40th high school reunion.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Off the Black has decent performances by Nick Nolte and Trevor Morgan, but suffers from a tedious plot without enough surprises. Dave, a baseball pitcher in high school, meets Ray, an umpire at his game, after he and his friends vandalize his house. Their motive is to get back at him for giving a bad call that cost them their game. Both Dave and Ray come from dysfunctional families: Dave’s father (Hutton) barely communicates with his son and Ray and his father (Higgens) are estranged from each other. Both feel lonely and bored, so when Ray asks him to pretend to be his son at an upcoming 40th high school reunion, it’s inevitable that they will become good friends. Unfortunately, writer/director James Ponsoldt spends too much time having Dave and Ray just talking back and forth with one another without enough conflicts. Too many scenes drag from tediousness, so shorter, faster-paced scenes would definitely have helped to keep you awake more. Ponsoldt makes Ray a terminally ill, the biggest cliché in the book, to try make you care about him as a character. Beautiful cinematography doesn’t compensate for the weak, clichéd script, though. Even at a running time of 90 minutes, Off the Black overstays it welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Clichéd and often drags.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 5
IN A NUTSHELL: Decent performances by Nick Nolte and Trevor Morgan barely help to enliven the clichéd, often tedious plot.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "O" Menu