Roadie

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All our times have come, sang the wise men of Blue yster Cult---here, but now they're gone. You'd think Jimmy Testagross (Eldard), the fictional 40-year-old roadie for the veteran band, would appreciate these words after two decades of hauling gear, but he's stranded in a fog of denial. With little explanation, Jimmy is released from his position via cell phone. Clad in leather and secret embarrassment, he slinks back to his childhood home, where his failing mom (Five Easy Pieces' effortless Lois Smith) implies that a rethink is necessary.

It's here, in a keenly captured Forest Hills, Queens, land of low-lit bars and manicured lawns, that Roadie soars as a gently comic drama about living the dream---or trying to. There to taunt Jimmy are the twin specters of a difficult high-school experience: Nikki (Hennessy), the sympathetic old flame and neighborhood girl who rocks out on the weekends, and Randy (Cannavale), still a blowhard bully. (Making matters worse, those two are married.) Director Michael Cuesta (L.I.E.), coscripting with his brother Gerald, never leans too hard on the nostalgia, instead reserving tough love for characters whom you wouldn't call losers or winners. They all seem tethered to a memory of teenage status; their unflinching comeuppance (well acted by all) is a fresh alternative to typical indie-cinema wallowing.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

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Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday January 6 2012
Duration: 95 mins

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