Interesting but not well enough done to be that good
Sam is a typical teenager, living with his mother and father. His father sits in a dark room drinking beer and watching ten-pin bowling while his mother tries to keep their lives, home and meals just like in the magazines. Their lives are disrupted when Sam's grandfather is brought to the door in a wheelchair to stay with the family while the staff at his nursing home are on strike. Despite sitting static and silent, Sam discovers that his grandfather is perfectly fine and only faking incapacity so that he will be allowed to stay in the home with his girlfriend; however when Sam sees the pain in his family he wants his grandfather to come clean.
Although the story is built on rather shaky ground it is still quite enjoyable and engaging. By shaky ground I mean that the basis for grandpa's visit and the reasons for his faking incapacity are a bit thin and didn't really stand up to close thought and I wasn't totally convinced that they made much sense at all, but there was enough to interest to mean I didn't have to focus on these problems. The story is very much about Sam and it is seen through his eyes and is pretty interesting because he is surrounded by interesting characters a grandfather who is full of life and wisdom and parents who appear dead inside and put their emotion and energy into the wrong things. These characters are interesting but the lack of convincing narrative means they have nowhere to really develop to and out initial interest in them doesn't grow into anything else for example we see Sam's father cry but are granted very little more than seeing it.
The cast are good regardless though. Harris's Sam is a convincing teenager and he acts well as the eyes of the audience. Randolph is enjoyable and convincing in his two personalities and it is not his fault if his motives and actions are unclear. Smith and Flynn have less complex roles that are easier to read and they do well with them even if they don't develop them past the easy traits they are given.
Overall this is an OK film that is interesting throughout but I couldn't help feeling that the film hadn't actually gone anywhere with it. The motives and actions of the characters are not that clear or convincing and the end result is that the film doesn't feel like it actually goes anywhere and is as developed at the end as it had been within the first few minutes. Interesting but ultimately a fairly empty affair.
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