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Wednesday, July 8, 2015
COMEBACK DAD: WASTED DUTTON
I’ve been a fan of Charles S. Dutton since the first time I saw him in the TV series ROC. He’s always had the ability to make me believe he was the character he was playing, something that all actors should hope to achieve. When I saw he was in this movie I had hopes even though it looked like a made for cable movie. Those hopes were dashed with each passing minute of the film.
Dutton plays Othell, a jazz piano player haunted by the sins of his past. A recovering alcoholic 3 months sober he’s now trying to make up for that as his daughter is about to marry. Approaching her soon to be husband, he attempts a reconciliation with the young woman who deals with the situation by refusing to talk about it. Eventually he breaks down that wall and gets her to agree to accompany him with her fiancé to his mother’s birthday.
At the party that takes place over a weekend things go from bad to worse as this family of successful brothers and sisters achievements are rubbed in the face of the struggling Othell. It puts a different perspective on the situation for his daughter but she still holds a grudge because of the past. Whether or not she will finally allow Othell back into her life as her wedding approaches is yet to be seen but let’s be honest, as much as this seems a made for TV movie I think we all know the result.
It’s not that this movie stinks because it is a made for TV film. There are tons of those out there that have done amazing jobs of entertaining and bringing something new to the table. This is not one of those films. Dutton does another amazing job in the role of Othell but that’s about the only thing you can say good about the movie. I don’t usually single out one bad performance but the worst thing about this movie is exactly that in what is offered by Tatyana Ali in the role of Nima, Othell’s daughter. While this actress has a long list of credits to her name you would never know it watching this film. Her performance here ranks alongside those of just about any junior high school performance of a first time actress. I’m guessing she is much better than this but somehow, some way, her performance here doesn’t do much to help that thought.
I could excuse that performance due to her age but the same can’t be said of the one turned in by Loretta Devine as Othell’s sister Malinda. It’s as if there were either no director in charge of this movie, Devine decided that she would ignore the director or someone told her that over acting would make her stand out. If it was the last suggestion then they were correct, she does stand out and not in a good way.
A lackluster film, a cast that needs direction and a story that never seems to pop make this a movie to avoid. Then again if you like bad made for TV movies perhaps…no not even then. Instead flip on Lifetime and see which spouse is abusing/killing the other in tonight’s movie of the week.
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