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  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Few things are as reliably condescending as the histrionics that pass for realism whenever Hollywood gets its mitts on working-class, rural American characters. Well intentioned as it is, this hypersentimental salt-of-the-earth soaper jumps headfirst into that trap.

The tip-off is Charlize Theron’s presence both in front of and behind the camera as coproducer; her attraction to this stuff is officially think-piece- (if not intervention-) worthy. She plays a loudmouth white-trash diva and sister to a self-esteemless minimum-wage mook (Stahl), on whom she dumps her surly teenage daughter (surly Robb) before disappearing. Bro summarily gets fired, moves into the basement of a buddy (Harrelson, providing welcome levity) and loses his niece to foster care. After reuniting, the pair ends up crashing at the Utah farm of his bullying dad (Hopper as a hayseed Frank Booth). Big mistake.

Screenwriter Zac Stanford sidesteps the inherent trickiness of his subject (the adult legacy of child abuse) by rendering stick-figure characters as lifelessly ennobled as director William Maher’s imagery and pacing are flat. The result is TV-style pat tragedy, complete with a daft, patronizingly clichéd message—“Today is the first day of the rest of your life”—that’s repeated three times for our edification.

Written by Mark Holcomb

Cast and crew

  • Director:William Maher
  • Screenwriter:Zac Stanford
  • Cast:
    • Nick Stahl
    • AnnaSophia Robb
    • Charlize Theron
    • Dennis Hopper
    • Woody Harrelson
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