All that talented piano prodigy Eli (Jesse Eisenberg) wants is to get his drug-addict mother (Melissa Leo) into rehab and to ace his audition at a prestigious conservatory. The only thing standing between him and a stable future is, naturally, a misadventure involving Mom’s goofy drug dealer (Tracy Morgan). It’s anyone’s guess as to how many times writer-directors Phil Doring and Ron Nyswaner watched Little Miss Sunshine before deciding to try duplicating that film’s familial wacky-pathos tone. Or whether they pulled random ideas out of hat (Revolutionary War reenactors! Foul-mouthed sock puppets! Translating “your-mom” insults into Spanish!) to determine which quirky elements they’d add. Regardless, nothing—script, performances, comedy, drama—works in the slightest. To answer the title: Where do we start?
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