Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 2008. Miramax, Groundswell Productions, Sherazade Film Development, Visitor Pictures, Corduroy Films, TableTop Films, QED International, Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project, GEM Global Entertainment Magyar. Screenplay by Mark Poirier. Cinematography by Toby Irwin. Produced by Michael Costigan, Bridget Johnson, Michael London, Bruna Papandrea. Music by Nuno Bettencourt. Production Design by Patti Podesta. Costume Design by Amy Westcott. Film Editing by Robert Frazen, Yana Gorskaya.
Dennis Quaid, fattened out and shaggy, plays a curmudgeony English professor who fails to communicate with either his students or his family. A widower of some years, his strait-laced daughter (Ellen Page) does everything with an air of judgement while his son (Ashton Holmes) can never say anything without judgmental menace (mind you, Holmes was like that in A History Of Violence too, so that might just be his face). Quaid is presented with a fork in the road when a trauma-induced seizure introduces him to a beautiful doctor (Sarah Jessica Parker) who was once his student, and forces him to hire his rootless brother (Thomas Haden Church) as his driver. This messy film is all over the map, with characters that are neither likeable or detestable but simply there. The direction and writing are good but not polished, making the performances suffer from time to time though the entire cast is wonderful. Parker is the most believable and gives a lovely performance, while Church capitalizes beautifully on his Sideways performance.