Based on AM Homes' short stories, this is a left-field, Short Cuts-style collage of suburban America. It's an incident filled, adventurous, sometimes over-reaching catalogue of calamities and crises that constantly cuts between and cross-references four families: the Golds, Trains, Christiansons and the Jennings. Who said the suburbs were safe or dull? Esther Gold (Close, excellent) is so guilt-ridden and absorbed in caring for her comatose son Paul, she can't relate to her daughter or husband. Helen Christianson (Place) fancies houseboy Randy, whose reticence is explained by darkly ambivalent scenes of a child's abduction. Jim Train (Mulroney) is a lawyer in mid-crack up, pinning his hopes of transcendence on a car giveaway contest at a local mall. So it goes, the consumerist nightmare in all its sad ignominy. Troche's debut Go Fish was a similarly footloose examination of gay lives. On heterosexual ground, she shows herself capable of deep empathy, and a firm admirer of the cautionary tale. The film has far too many cul-de-sacs and cross-purposes to be entirely satisfactory, but it's rarely dull, often beautifully acted and designed, and both droll and compassionate.
Cast and crew
Mary Kay Place