There has been a lot of buzz around Paul Giamatti recently with the film Barney’s Version in which he plays the role of Barney Panofsky, a very blunt and impulsive character. In his new film, Giamatti takes on a very different role, one of an attorney trying to support his family during tough economic times.
Mike Flaherty (Giamatti) is trying to make a living as an attorney but is not able to keep up with the bills. During his off hours, he spends time at the local high school coaching the wrestling team. A twist of fate (or more like a manipulation of circumstances), brings forth an opportunity for Mike to make some extra cash and that situation also connects him with a young man named Kyle (Alex Shaffer), whose skills take the wrestling team to a whole new level. Just as things are finally looking up for Mike and his family, Kyle’s mom Cindy (Melanie Lynskey) shows up after completing a rehab program and since she is out of money, she has another agenda that disrupts Mike plans.
This family drama gets off to a really slow start. While the pacing of it does give you a chance to get to know the characters a little better, it does not really do much to engage the viewers. The second half of the film fares better as the plot becomes a bit more complex and people’s intentions are put into question. While the performances of the actors were good, the story could have been improved upon.