"I can't come home right now. I know I'm not dead yet."
Welcome to the Rileys is certainly a flawed movie. The characters are a little flat, and don't seem to be written as genuine people, at times. The story scenario, with its focus on lost loved ones and damaged people finding healing or comfort in each other, is one that seems to be in every other movie, recently. And the ending seems a bit rushed and unfinished.
But still, I found myself enjoying it all.
The key lies in the color and atmosphere added by using New Orleans as the primary location, and the performances of the three primary cast members.
The first point may appeal only to those who have visited or who live in the city. Filming a movie in New Orleans gives it an instant, appealing flavor to anyone who's been there before, walking past the same restaurants and down the same streets. Very cool. I'll admit that this might not be as big a deal to others as it was to me, though.
What everyone should be able to recognize and appreciate, however, are the great performances by James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and Kristen Stewart. They carry this movie with some really excellent acting, even though their characters are slightly hobbled at times with some spotty writing. Especially when it comes to the dynamics of the various relationships. Still, the three of them (especially Gandolfini and Stewart) easily make Welcome to the Rileys worth at least a rental.
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