Julie Kirkham

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Around The Bend Review


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The kind of thing that would be playing nonstop if there were a Lifetime Network for Men, Around the Bend is a getting back in touch with your family drama that would be mawkishly entertaining if it weren't so utterly hackneyed and false. Ostensibly a labor of love for first-time writer/director Jordan Roberts, the film gives us four generations of men stuffed together in one slovenly kept house - with a foreign blonde off to the sidelines to provide some tasteful eye candy - who have to come to grips with their atrophied relationships when the patriarch kicks the bucket.

Films of this nature usually need a gruff, salt-of-the-earth type to provide hard-earned wisdom, and here it's the Lair family's elder statesman, Henry (Michael Caine), an ailing archaeologist who despairs at how little fun that his grandson, Jason (Josh Lucas) is letting his own boy, Zach (Jonah Bobo), have in life. Jason is an uptight banker type who's basically raising Zach alone after his wife absconded to Nepal (women, right?), leaving the business of taking care of Henry to the live-in Danish nurse, Katrina (Glenne Headly). On the eve of Henry's impending death - which he's able to foretell with preternatural accuracy - the bombshell dropped in their laps is the arrival of the family's missing link, Turner (Christopher Walken), Henry's son and Jason's father (never mind that Walken is only 10 years younger than Caine and looks even closer to him in age), who wants to make up for his wasted decades of crime, addiction and familial neglect.

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