Review first published 10/11/12
Sam is a hotshot Bartering Broker whose latest deal has seen him in trouble with his employers. But a phone call notifying him of his father’s death and a request for him to deliver $150,000 on behalf of his late father to a boy called Josh is going to send his life in a direction that he could not have been prepared for.
This film is a fictionalised story based on an incident in director Alex Kurtzman’s own life with the script being written by Kurtzman himself alomgside his regular scripting collaborator Robert Orci and fellow scripter Jody Lambert.
Films like these can run the risk of coming over as a little too sweet and a safe bet. However, this script manages to steer away from this problem to a certain extent by having the four lead characters have their own problems along with additional problem for Sam of discovering that his late father was also a father to Frankie.
Chris Pine gets a change of pace from his usual action roles by taking on the part of Sam. Pine has a balancing act in the role as on the one hand, you get a selfish man who thinks little of the morality of either ripping off his new found family members or selling poorly packaged soup. However,as the film progresses, you find a troubled who,once he enters into the lie of not telling his new found sister who he really is, finds that he’s out of depth albeit through what he sees as noble motives.
Elizabeth Banks takes on the role and convinces as a single mother who has to sacrifice her personal happiness for the welfare of her son. In addition to this, the character of Frankie pushes Ms Banks to some challenging acting choices as the character is a recovering alcoholic and has valid issues as to her father’s abandonment of her.
Michelle Pfeiffer gives a well pitched portrayal in the role of Sam’s mother, Lilian, as not only does the character have to display the grief at the loss of her husband but anger at Sam’s abandonment of his parents.
Finally, Michael Hall D’addario gives a great performance to round out the lead characters in the role of Frankie’s son, and Sam’s nephew, Josh. The character has to display all the colours of a pre-teen with including a nice line in sarcasm, humour, vulnerability due to the bullying he receives at school, rebellion as highlighted in an early scene when he manages to blow up his school’s swimming pool and the need to have a male role in his life, albeit a flawed one like Sam.
The main cast are supported by Olivia Wilde in the role of Sam’s girlfriend, Hannah, Jon Favreaux as Sam’s boss and Philip Baker Hall in the role of Sam’s friend and solicitor who passes Sam the task of giving Sean his inheritance.
A nicely written and performed film about the importance of family relationships and that honesty should be the best policy.. One to relax with at the weekend.