From her adolescent mall-chick wardrobe to a penchant for public displays of mobile-phone abuse, Bronx broad Lucy (Mira Sorvino) is far down a midlife spiral. Bearing armfuls of shopping bags, a yipping poodle and an air of nicotine-scented hysteria, she shows up unannounced at the Union Square apartment of her estranged sister, Jenny (Tammy Blanchard), who’s trying to cleanse her rough past with yuppie domesticity. What initially plays like a broadly drawn, Odd Couple–style farce flips, literally overnight, into a sober family drama replete with death, addiction, adultery and suicidal tendencies.
Indie-film vet Nancy Savoca made her name with a movie designed to salvage a heroine from damning first impressions (1991’s Dogfight), but this time, the gambit is less of an ethical challenge than an act of bad faith, dependent on the withholding of information—insignificant details like the fact that Lucy’s married and a mom—that we’re later shamed for not considering. Sorvino’s Bronx bawler veers from mascara-streaked monster to outer-borough sage as each scene requires, while Savoca’s agitated camera strains for handheld immediacy but ends up just looking amateurish and ugly. By the time Patti LuPone cameos for a sob-soaked catharsis, the gap between the emotions on display and our utter lack of investment has turned into a chasm.
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