Tommy Basilio (Buscemi), a no-hoper living in suburban Long Island, is not exactly happy. He's been sacked for 'borrowing' money from the garage owned by his buddy Rob (LaPaglia), with whom Tommy's girl Theresa (Bracco) has now taken up. His family tend to regard him as a black sheep, while Jerry (Baldwin), Theresa's volatile brother-in-law, is anxious about Tommy hanging around his teenage daughter Debbie (Sevigny). Small wonder Tommy takes to getting legless with troubled family man Mike (Boone), trying to pick up anyone in a skirt, and generally making a nuisance of himself in the unprepossessing Trees Lounge bar. Buscemi's semi- autobiographical first feature as writer/director is a beautifully low-key, disarmingly perceptive blue-collar character-study, reminiscent of vintage Cassavetes in its sociological and emotional authenticity. If nothing here is quite as risky or inspirational as the late indie king's nerviest masterpieces, there's still much to savour: a cherishably naturalistic, extremely witty script packed with tasty trivialities and non sequiturs; top-notch performances from a superb cast; a smattering of subtle sight-gags; and sufficient drama to ensure that the overall understatement never outstays its welcome. Crucially, despite the loose narrative structure and amiable air of inconsequentiality, it's all held together, and lent poignancy, by Buscemi's Tommy: irresponsible, selfish even, but endowed with enough scrawny charm to allow us to care about his need, and capacity, for some kind of redemption.