The death of a child is at the center of this drama. The parents, Doug and Lois, are grieving is different ways. Doug, tries to keep on going with his business and his friends, spending Thursdays playing poker and having sex with the waitress from a diner where he stops after the card game. Lois has become a recluse who does not venture out of the house.
Traveling to a trade convention in New Orleans, Doug runs into a stripper, Mallory, who offers him sex for a price. Doug is taken aback because he realizes she is only a girl acting up at being a grown-up. It is clear Mallory has been wounded and has turned to dancing as a way to make an easy living. Prostitution is something that goes with the territory she has chosen.
Doug feels bad for the girl, looking for ways to help her. He finds her ultimately living among the squalor of a destroyed city after Katrina. Doug offers her to pay for his stay, trying to engage her into making something out of her life. Lois, in the meantime, taking courage, takes the car and drives to New Orleans to be with Doug. She has bad feelings about his staying away.
"Welcome to the Rileys" is an interesting feature from Jake Scott, working with the screenplay written by Ken Hixon. Mr. Scott comes from a family heavily involved in the movie industry. He is the son of Ridley Scott and the nephew of Tony Scott. It took him a while to get to this stage, apparently, after being involved in videos and another film which we never saw.
This drama feels real because the viewer feels the pain of the Rileys. They have been carrying their grief for a long time and it has gotten between them in ways they never expected. The trip to New Orleans act as a catalyst in the Riley's marriage. Lois is an intelligent woman who realizes she is about to lose her man. She must overcome her fear of being out and living a normal life.
Doug sees in Mallory the daughter that fate robbed him. In spite of her bravado, he finds the girl is an insecure young woman asking for help. After Lois arrive, there is no question of anything incorrect in Doug's relationship with the young stripper. Unfortunately, Mallory is not ready for a normal life. In the end, Doug and Lois find a way to stay together because of the love they feel for one another.
Mr. Scott gets outstanding performances from the three principals in the film. James Gandolfini makes a convincing Doug in one of the best things he has made in his career. Melissa Leo is wonderful as Lois. Her fear of losing Doug is all she needed to come back to the world she abandoned with the tragedy in her life. Kristen Stewart shows a mature side in her Mallory. The best thing in the film is the ensemble acting the director achieves with his sure handling of the amazing cast.
4 out of 4 found this helpful