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Monday, 19 March 2018

Retro Review: $5 A Day (2008)

$5 A Day
Cast: Christopher Walken, Sharon Stone, Alessandro Nivola, Amanda Peet, Peter Coyote, Dean Cain
Genre: Comedy Drama 

Plot: The son of a thrifty conman begrugedly joins his father on the road

'Film Feels More Like Less Than $1 Dollar'

A waste of a cast and potential of a premise, $5 A Day is a confusing movie with an incohesive narrative that wanders all over the place, thus squandering the talents of Christopher Walken & Sharon Stone and which doesn't manage to reach a foregone conclusion. There is just not enough here that makes it virtually redeemable as not only is it formulaic, it takes what at first sounds like an interesting idea, but the execution of it is just utterly tepid and bland. 

Richie is a successful man, who just broke up with his girlfriend and of whom is fired from his job as a health inspector. He learns his father, Nat has a brain tumour and he wants to see his son. When the con man father, Nat is let out of jail, he and his son, Richie heads off to Atlantic City to find him. With Nat surviving on $5 a day, Richie gets to reacquaint and bond with his dad by going on a road trip together on their way to New Mexico to find a cure. Along the way, they bump into Richie's former babysitter, Dolores.

Despite the best moments with a skimpy-looking Sharon Stone and the food fight in the kitchen, the rest of the movie was just absent of wit & characterisation that needed livening up. It is so void of emotional thought, though it plays it straight with scarce moments of light scenes courtesy of Sharon Stone - who really should have deserved more than a bit-part role lasting for what, about 20 mins or so. I liked her part here, but it was just far too brief and in Nivola, I could see her as someone who should have been a vital part of the story. & yet writers Neal F and Tippi Dobrosky put it to waste. $5 A Day barely delves deep into and examines the relationships of the characters and doesn't get right to the heart of them, thoroughly.

The direction is sadly lacklustre, yet given it is from the same man who gave us Calendar Girls & A Lot Like Love, which rarely surprised and captured audience's imaginations, this comes as no surprise. As simple and straightforward as he goes about it, it lacks any sort of momentum to keep it going. Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone do their utmost best to provide some quality, and in some instances, they do well; their interplay as Nivola and Nat, as well as Nivola's moments with the son, Flynn, were the only moments that kept me peeled. But other than that, the story just didn't hold my attention and interest as it should have done. 

Final Verdict:

Being an indie drama, one wouldn't expect much, but still this was largely underwhelming. 

A road trip film, which I expected a lot more out of to keep me enthused, this came up woefully short. This is a film that should have been a lot better, but $5 A Day is yet another case where even independent movies can get just as much wrong as the big- budget Hollywood A-list blockbusters themselves.


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