When I played team sports as a kid, there was the phenomenon known as the “coach’s son”. And while there was no logical reason for that unfortunate kid to be less skilled, this almost without fail, was the case. The smart coaches would limit their kid’s role on the team: others, blinded in a haze of paternal pride had the mistaken belief their children were budding superstars. Scott Caan, offspring of badass 70s icon James, is the cinematic equivalent.
To be fair, his auteur vehicle and debut effort isn’t terrible, just vastly unnecessary. Here’s the story: a loner 20-something who never knew his daddy and has a chip on his broad shoulders, barroom brawls his way through life with his best buddy/worst influence Dallas, which drives his sweetheart of a mom absolutely crazy! To work through his issues, Rusty (Shawn Hatosy) agrees to go to a therapist, who coincidentally is dating said mom. Then, as the two loveable rogues drift along from broken pool cue to shattered beer bottle, Dallas gets the bright idea he’ll shortcut his way to Easy Street via the cinematically convenient unguarded fortune, nestled in the gangster’s mansion. This is an indie film, which once may have meant artistic independence, but now has more to do with low-rent clichés: nervous camera movements, staring at the stars flat on your back with a can of beer in your hands, philosophy — you know the type. There’s some nice interplay between Caan and Hatosy that actually captures something about poisonous friendships. And Jeff Goldblum’s boyfriend/shrink raises the level of production, but makes you wonder about the state of his career.
Scott Caan possesses the bone structure of his old man, but most importantly, insofar as he thinks he’s a writer, director and star, the same chutzpah. But like I said, it’s not so much a bad film as one that’s exceedingly, redundantly unnecessary.
Opens June 24