Who's in It:
Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Nicky Katt, Amy Sedaris, Michael Angarano, Olivia Thirlby
The Basics: A teenage boy experiences his first love while linked to two couples going through divorces. The first are his own upper-middle-class parents, the other his former babysitter and her estranged, unstable, alcoholic, born-again-Christian husband. Add a missing child, a murder/suicide, loss of virginity, winter, some quirky bit players and some earnest guitar-pluckery on the soundtrack, and you have the indie-film version of those add-water microwave cake mixes.
What's the Deal? There's been a shift in David Gordon Green's directorial style. The days of loose, open-ended, narratively "free" movies like George Washington and All the Real Girls seem to be over. He seemed like a one-man Trailer Park New Wave. Now it's all "this happened and then this happened" with a side of Whole Foods vitamins. And while audiences might think they're getting something meaningful and real, what it seems like they're really getting is just a different, less expensive version of Fake.
What's Good About It: Well, the final scene
but I won't spoil that. And most of the performances, in spite of how they're directed. Rockwell is all chilling and weird, Sedaris tosses off possibly improvised dialogue about cute dwarfs, Angarano and Juno's Thirlby (the one who says, "It's probably just a food baby.") are a cute teen couple who lighten up the tragedy, and Beckinsale deserves some kind of praise for not just settling for a career of Underworld sequels.
How You Know You're Deep in It: Supporting roles are played by indie vets Griffin Dunne and Tom Noonan (who has very little dialogue all of it irritating). On top of it, you get a last act bit of wistful, benevolent slow-motion "life goes on" montage.
At Least It's Better Than: Little Children, Spitfire Grill, Napoleon Dynamite, Down in the Valley, Sleepwalking, most of the stuff they keep rerunning over and over on the Sundance Channel.