The Details

**½

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That’s where evil dwells, in the details

Swift shot: This little slice of American blueberry pie comes to us seemingly out of nowhere.  It’s a film that didn’t demand to be made nor seen, but it offers an interesting glimpse into a “perfect family” and reflects on the fact, maybe a perfect family is only a myth.  The Details features a quirky style that some may not agree with right away, but it doesn’t ultimately detract from the delivery of the story, which is enough to keep your attention. It is just that the story, while handled well, features some “convenient” characters.  What I mean is, I had a hard time swallowing a lot of the characters’ actions.  Particularly the Allstate Insurance spokesman, Dennis Haysbert who plays Lincoln, a “Christian” family man with a perfect family of his own, but when he is challenged morally, he doesn’t make a choice I think fits with his character.  If character matters, then I expect the characters to be more genuine, not just when it suits the film makers.  That goes for any film, and that is why I can’t love this one.

Tobey Maguire (remember him? when he was Spider-Man) plays Dr. Jeff Lang, an OBGYN who wants an expansion to his home, so that he and his wife of ten years, Nealy (Elizabeth Banks) can have a new child.  Thing is, Jeff has some problems with the zoning commission and decides to have the work done anyway.  He knows it is a risk, but as long as he can keep his neighbors happy, all is well.

Now is when it starts to get fun.  Because we are introduced to the one character that kept me fascinated the entire film played by Laura Linney.  She clearly brought her best work to the nutjob next door role of Lila, and even though she only has ONE cat (named Matthew), she gives a whole new level of shitbat insane to the “crazy cat lady” archetype.  It isn’t the number of cats you have that makes you nuts, it’s the number of cats scratching inside your head that really matters.

Rounding out the cast that makes up the details of how we get to the end of our story is Ray Liotta’s character, Peter Mazzoni, who plays an Italian from New Jersey who owns a few restaurants (wink), but while his character was almost an after-thought to the story, he plays an important role in getting us to the conclusion.  Also, he has a few surprises that come out of nowhere but made him far more interesting than you might first think.

The Details isn’t fast-paced, but it doesn’t bore you at any point.  Many of you will be able to relate to some of the “hard” times in the Doc’s life as he has to choose what will define his character.  Also, when the raccoons are introduced in the film, I took that as a metaphor for God . . . giving him one last wake-up call that he needed to rethink his decision.  Others may think they were just thrown in to mix up the sod, maybe so.  Either way, if you like stories that dig up the dirt (another metaphor) on American white bread families, this is your film.  If that isn’t your thing, avoid this at all costs, as it will just piss you off.  And, for the love of God, make sure you get those new additions approved by the zoning board!


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