|Doug (James Gandolfini), a plumbing guy from Indiana, takes a New Orleans stripper (Kristen Stewart) under his Midwestern wing in Jake Scott’s slow, big-hearted “Welcome to the Rileys.”|
This might well be the closest thing we get to an actual Christmas movie this holiday season.
Jake Scott’s family crisis drama “Welcome to the Rileys” boasts superlative, nuanced performances from its three main actors and a seasonally appropriate story of charity and good will toward all.
But it moves so slowly and deliberately that it fails to sweep us along with the damaged characters as they meander off to New Orleans for some healing and a greater understanding of themselves.
James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo star as the Rileys, Doug and Lois. They live in Indiana. Their teen daughter has been dead for eight years after a tragic auto accident.
Their marriage has been dead for a long time, too.
Lois has frozen herself in time. She probably has the same hair style she did when her daughter died. She clearly hasn’t left her home since then. (One telling scene shows Lois trying to use a key to open a car trunk that has no key hole suggesting she hasn’t driven a car since remote controls came along.)
Doug has become withdrawn and distant, and often goes into the garage to openly cry out his grief.
We soon realize that he has also been seeing a local waitress for companionship and other benefits. (Read more…)