Diminished Capacity: More Sweet-Souled Losers

This first feature by character actor/theater director Terry Kinney addresses, once again, America’s apparent surfeit of sweet-souled losers and eccentrics, replete with rueful indie muzak. Cooper (Matthew Broderick), a Chicago newspaperman still held back at work by a recent concussion, returns to hometown rural Missourah to check up on a precarious relation. Old Uncle Rollie (Alan Alda) has raised concern in the family with his habit of deciphering the “poetry” written by fish through his ingeniously rigged typewriter. (Is there some Bruce Villanch–esque character out there somewhere, engaged in the full-time manufacturing of fresh quirk for aspiring indie filmmakers?) Rollie’s only steady thought amid an Alzheimer’s crumble: to sell a prized-possession baseball card. On the resulting journey, Broderick’s reticence barely registers, but relief comes through the deep supporting lineup, particularly the characters populating a collector’s convention (Dylan Baker, Bobby Cannavale). This is about where the damnation-by-faint-praise adjectives— “diverting” and “warmhearted”—come in (Oh! “Minor key”). It’s the kind of lite movie you go and see with your mom, and she’ll say she liked it—but then a year later, you’re both trying to remember what it was even about. Two and a half shrugs.

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