29 August 2011 | inkblot11
Worth much more than 5 bucks, a very enjoyable and tender film
Flynn Parker (Alessandro Nivola) thought he had broken free from his past. You see, his conman father, Nat (Christopher Walken) was always hustling and stretching the truth, causing a chaotic childhood. It finally resulted in Flynn taking the fall on one particular scheme and going to prison. For the past few years, Flynn has been living in the Los Angeles area and working as a health inspector. Unfortunately, the boss has just now gotten word of Flynn's criminal past and he is fired. To add insult to injury, Flynn's girlfriend, Maggie (Amanda Peet) has also moved out of their apartment, because of her boyfriend's failure to open up about his past to her. So, into this fine kettle comes word that Nat wants to see Flynn and asks him to fly to Atlantic City. Having no other job prospects at the moment, Flynn makes the journey. But, when he arrives, his dad tells him that he is dying from cancer. Not only that, he wants Flynn to drive him to Mexico for some experimental treatment and promises that it won't cost more than $5 a day in traveling expenses. This is because he has been given the use of a car, a pink beetle, with a sign for "Sweet and Low" sugar substitute. He also has a deal with Ihop for free meals and friends to stay with, like Dolores (Sharon Stone), along the way. If there aren't any pals, they can bunk in empty houses with "for sale" signs in the yard! Ha! Very reluctantly, Flynn agrees to go. At first, a reconciliation between the two men seems possible. But, can Flynn really trust that his father is telling the truth? As they journey, Flynn calls Maggie's answering machine and leaves messages that reveal more and more of the person he really is. Will they stay a couple, too? This truly enjoyable and sometimes tender film is just great for film fans looking for a change of pace. Nivola, so handsome, does a great job as the conflicted Flynn while Walken delivers another fine turn as the aging huckster. Stone's role is small but lively while Peet displays a fine sensitivity with a minimum of lines. Other cast members are good, too. As one might expect, the changing scenery across the United States is very lovely while costumes, photography, script and direction are quite up to snuff. In short, even if you must pay five bucks for a movie rental, this one has hidden treasures.