A tale of pathos and egos on the Long Island shore, circa 1976, Diggers is pure dramedy — which is to say, not as funny as a mediocre comedy, and not quite convincing enough to be drama. Loosely centered around a clan of thirty-something fishermen riled about an encroaching fishing giant on their turf, writer/actor Ken Marino’s (The State) script falls flat in the hands of director Katherine Dieckmann.
Hunt (Paul Rudd) is a clam-digging stud. When change blows into town in the form of a flame-haired Lauren Ambrose, his patchy mess of a life is turned from the inside out like the gooey flesh of a raw clam. The feeling of its being staged in 1970s regalia permeates his simple story, which is peppered with druggie friends, period TV and radio clips and lots of handlebar mustaches. With fine performances from a crowded ensemble cast (including Maura Tierney as Hunt’s burger-flipping sister) and slack pace, Diggers may feel also more like episodic TV than a cohesive feature. But its emotional core is so water-thin, it’s hard to tell how much an improvement even that would be.