[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] B [/dropcap] eing Flynn has all the elements for success. A great writer/director in Paul Weitz (no, not the “white shoe” Wall Street law firm, but the guy who wrote and directed one of my favorites….About A Boy). An amazing cast with De Niro, Paul Dano (think awkward teenager in Little Miss Sunshine and the kid in There Will Be Blood) and Julianne Moore. A soulful story with the tag line “we’re all works in progress”. But sometimes having all the ingredients doesn’t make for that spark that ignites a film. Being Flynn never ignites.
Robert De Niro plays Jonathan Flynn, who is a purported writer/philosopher who is a woefully deficient father and, quite frankly, a bit of a loser who travels very close to the edge of socio-economic oblivion. Few could do this more convincingly than De Niro. Paul Dano is his lost son who is more a real writer/poet than Dad could ever be. Dano simply looks like a rumpled bed on his best day, so playing a part as a homeless shelter house boy is right in his natural groove. Julianne Moore as the Mom who hopes in futile fashion that Dad will try to be a Dad does a fine job, but let’s face it, this sad-sack storyline is pretty well played out and is what starts to slip about this film. I would like to quote Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets when he says with great cynicism, ” Let’s not tell each other our sad stories…” That should be a rule for movies too. We know there are bad parents and wounds of youth and parental attempts of redemption…and piss in the dark corners. Life may not be all about “noodle pudding”, but I’m not sure it’s that entertaining to watch the dark underbelly.
My guess is that this movie only appeals to the 1% who don’t realize that life is usually not a bowl of cherries.