Unhook the Stars (15). Nick Cassavetes, son of Gena Rowlands and the late John Cassavetes, makes his directorial debut with this remarkably uninteresting puddle of schmaltz. Rowlands, still luminous, plays a lonely widow, estranged from her rebellious teenage daughter and obnoxious yuppie son. When she starts to baby-sit for the single mother next door (Marisa Tomei), she finds an unlikely friend in young, withdrawn JJ (Jake Lloyd). Rowlands provides the nuances that the script neglects to provide; it's a heartfelt performance in an awfully bland film, and a more touching declaration of a mother's love than might have been intended.Reuse content
Swingers (15). A guy thing and proud of it, Doug Liman's first feature is a fitfully amusing story of LA junior-league rat-packers, programmed to appeal to (straight) men who're in touch with their inner 18-year-old. Struggling comedian Mike (Jon Favreau, also the screenwriter) can't get over the break-up of a six-year relationship. His best buddy Trent (Vince Vaughan) is convinced that a period of intensive clubbing will do the trick. ("You're so money," the self-assured Trent assures his miserable friend; the phrase, thankfully, hasn't yet caught on.) Liman's commendable eye for detail and the film's casual structure make it all seem very authentic, but there are traces of self-consciousness (ill-advised displays of film-buffery in the form of brief Goodfellas and Reservoir Dogs parodies). Most of the performances are surprisingly shrewd, but the characters just won't shut up, and overstay their welcome by at least half an hour.