Hats off to first-time filmmakers who bypass nth-generation Reservoir Dogs knockoffs or twee love stories about unattainable dream girls, and instead make low-key dramas rooted in ordinary people's lives. Unfortunately, NYU film-school graduate Josh Sternfeld's morose tale about a suburban landscaper (LaPaglia) and his sons is mired in the painfully mundane travails of not-very-interesting people. The trouble isn't that nothing much happens—the right details can make any story enthralling—but that Sternfeld's script, developed at the Sundance screenwriters' lab, is spare to the point of stinginess.
Cast and crew
Brendan Sexton III