Friday, February 25, 2011
McCarthy, who wrote THE STATION AGENT, THE VISITOR, and UP, doesn't go for easy in his plots. He has a surprising range of unexpected story lines (who puts croquet and wrestling in the same film?), an ability to dig out from moral tangles (why are we rooting so hard for Giamatti's character, when he has done such an unscrupulous thing?), an impeccable ear for real but original dialogue (there's a great bit here that arises from a certain JBJ tattoo (see the film, find out for yourself)), a dancer's rhythm (we need to laugh just when McCarthy gives us cause to laugh) and an outstanding eye for talent (seriously, this is some cast). I have had the pleasure of meeting McCarthy's partner on this and other films, Mary Jane Skalski of Next Wednesday productions, and I felt her talent and presence as well—her ear, her eye, her maternal heart.
Alex Shaffer had never, he told us last evening, acted beyond a stint in a middle school play before he responded to a call for theater-tempted New Jersey high school wrestlers. Man, can this kid act—slaying the audience as much by what he won't say as by what he finally does. Apparently Shaffer is also quite the wrestler, having won the state championship shortly after this film wrapped. It was fun to watch him share this film last night with his four best friends and his cousin.
Find out more about the film here, and go see it when it appears nationally in theaters in mid March.