Boerum Hill's own Alessandro Nivola made a weird, wonderful impression as Nicolas Cage's cracked criminal brother in Face/Off; Abigail Breslin was one of the few unique things about Little Miss Sunshine. But put them together in this by-the-numbers backstage drama and their off-kilter charms somehow drift away. (Clash fans, be warned: The movie has nothing to do with "Janie Jones," that killer track off the band's debut LP.) Nivola plays an alcoholic alt-rock star who's somehow sustained a 15-plus-year career. Pleading her way backstage is a middle-aged woman (Shue, in a cameo) who claims he's the daddy of her shy teen (Breslin); she promptly exits the film to get clean, we're told.
Janie Jones spends way too little time in its I'm-skeptical-of-your-accusation phase, moving swiftly into the my-kid's-got-talent phase and then, like clockwork, into the maybe-I-do-have-time-for-parenting phase. The predictability is crushing, and with movies like Crazy Heart and Sofia Coppola's distinctly personal Somewhere so close in the rearview, David M. Rosenthal's estrangement drama feels especially soft. Still, give the endeavor a small bow for its sympathy toward two people cut loose from moorings---he from his fed-up band, she from her mother. Plus, the lead actors sing their own tunes creditably, which is always worth noting, even if it's a song you've heard before and better.
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