Diminished Capacity (15)

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The Independent Culture

Adapted from his own novel by Sherwood Kiraly, this comedy about mental infirmity is perhaps sunnier than its subject usually allows.

Matthew Broderick plays a Chicago news reporter who's been demoted to the comic strips after a bang on the head leaves him wobbly with memory loss. He takes a trip back home to Missouri where his uncle (Alan Alda) is typing away on his "fish poetry" and raging against the early throes of dementia – what the doctors abbreviate as "dim cap". The plot, which revolves around Alda's possession of a priceless baseball card and Broderick's rekindling love for an ex-girlfriend (Virginia Madsen), has moments of sweetness, though by the time it concludes in a collectors' memorabilia fair one's goodwill has worn perilously thin. For all its hokeyness, however, the performances of Broderick and Madsen lend it a certain wistful charm.