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AROUND THE BEND
Directed & Written by: Jordan Roberts.
Produced by: Elliot Lewitt & Julie Kirkham.
Director of Photography: Michael Grady.
Edited by: Françoise Bonnot.
Music by: Bradford Ellis.
Released by: Warner Independent.
Country of Origin: USA. 85 min. Rated: R.
With: Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly & Jonah Bobo.

Around the Bend explores multigenerational male bonding within a single family - as all the women seemed to have died off or abandoned their spouses. This premise has been seen before, particularly with women (Boys On the Side, Lovely and Amazing, Moonlight and Valentino). Here, Jason (Josh Lucas), a single dad recently separated from his wife, refuses to make amends with his father, Turner (Christopher Walken), a convict and former drug addict. However, Jason, his doe-eyed son, and Turner are forced by the will of Jasonís bizarre grandfather (Michael Caine) to go on a Southwestern tour of the KFC fast food chain; they are to sprinkle the manís ashes, once they have finished their drumsticks, at every stop.

Both Walken and Lucas expertly infuse tension into the sparsely written dialogue. The two electrically-charged actors cannot create enough spark with the dull script, though. The blandness of the trioís road trip is momentarily interjected with the over-the-top antics of Glenne Headly as an eccentric Danish live-in maid. Sex and the City's David Eigenberg also livens up the film in a brief appearance where he consoles Jason by telling him that all ďdads are dicks.Ē

During the constant dining and fruitless one-liners, the audience is left waiting hungrily for the drama to unravel. We keep hoping for Jason and Turner to finally hit their emotional peak, but instead are stuck sitting through the road tripís tedious routine. The pivotal confrontation between father and son doesnít begin to meet the anticipation the film has built up. The eventual emotional catharsis, paired with a few moments of snappy dialogue, does save the movie from being a lost cause; that is, if anyone sticks around long enough. Adrienne Urbanski
October 8, 2004

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