Will someone please figure out what to do with Scott Caan? Movie-star handsome like Pops James Caan and a top-heavy tough guy—he resembles a Brahman bull taught to walk upright—the 33-year-old wisenheimer has a live-wire charisma that, Soderbergh aside, nobody’s harnessed correctly. (A signature cocksure swagger suggests the younger Caan is as much the kid of Sonny Corleone as the actor who played him.) Even when he’s his own writer-director (Dallas 362), Caan can’t seem to play up his strengths. He’s a raw talent who needs an editor for his scripts and a strong hand behind the camera guiding him. Mercy gives our guy neither.
Working from Caan’s screenplay, director Patrick Hoelck sticks dutifully, if dully, to the story of smooth-talking writer (guess who?) and the woman (Glenn) who got away. What happened exactly is kept a mystery until the end; meanwhile, we get lines no actor should ever utter (“You write about love, but you don’t know how to spell it”) and Caan brooding, brawling and bawling his way through a self-important tale about self-important people. Once the elder Caan shows up as the author’s screwed-up dad, you expect generational sparks, but surprisingly, their scenes together fizzle on every level. It’s hard to be compassionate when such a great performer keeps squandering his potential and perpetually shoots himself in the foot.—David Fear