Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Straight A's (2013)

Anna Paquin scores Straight A's in a spot of cock-teasing with Ryan Phillippe.

At a glance:
Wanna fall asleep like Ryan Phillippe in the movie?
Don't blame ya.
Perhaps more worthy as a grammar debate than a feature movie, the thematically loose but well-edited Straight A's (2013) is about ne'er-do-good lifelong substance abuser Scott (Ryan Phillippe) who suddenly appears on horseback at the doorstep of his brother's Shreveport house, tryin to connect with the family he turned his back on years ago. Packin nothin but a bag of pills and ganja, he's haunted by the spirit of his dead mother and struggles to redeem himself with his brother (Luke Wilson) and also his brother's wife (Anna Paquin), the latter with whom he was formerly an item. The brother is a high-flyin businessman who's out of town for a few days, so Scott sticks around the house and finds himself bondin with the kids and the help. We learn about a strained marriage, disillusioned children and broken relationships. However, the standoffish family patriarch, sick grandfather (Powers Boothe) holds the key to uncoverin some secrets that might heal the whole family.
Bad news on the doorstep:
"You fuckwit son. Whaddya think this is? The Simpsons?"
Only managed a DVD release - and for good reason. Frank Veenstra at Bobafett1138 summarises bluntly: "Nothing against this movie but sometimes I just don't get why certain movies get even made! There is truly nothing special about this movie - its story, characters or drama. To make things worse, it handles things poorly, making this a mostly shallow and bland movie experience." Indeed there's a pronounced lack of urgency to the characters and their story, despite a highly watchable cast and their committed performances. This isn't Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and an unneeded Korean soap twist to its climax further highlights a problem in tone and direction.
Perennial wonderment:
Why didn't Ryan Phillippe and Anna Paquin become bigger stars? These two are extremely commandin and seductive performers who definitely peaked too early.
Reminds me of:
Some families I know. God save them and God save us from them.
Watch out for:
Powers Boothe as the bitter father. He gets a significant supportin role here.
Seems like it was just yesterday I watched Cruel Intentions.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Trevor Anderson at Movie Mavericks writes: "As much as Straight A’s reaches for spirituality, it lands far from its goal and comes off as a trite movie that doesn’t understand the values it purports to have. The ending is also incredibly contrived and drawn out, it doesn’t fit with the rest of film. Or maybe it does, as every choice here seems to be the safe one. Nice direction and strong acting can’t save this snooze-fest of unrelenting nothingness. With characters that are drowning in self-loathing, for which no great reason is ever revealed, the title Straight A’s must be referring to the expletive rather than the grade. Although I’d never give this movie that much credit."★★

Ryan Phillippe and Anna Paquin in Straight A's (2013)