An uneven, dark comedy bordering just on the other side of the absurd line. It is this proximity to normalcy that makes the movie interesting, if imperfect.
The film’s main weakness: we never really manage to connect with Maguire before his life spirals out of control. I think the director banked on Maguire’s (Wonder Boys, Spider-Man, Pleasantville) typically open facade and innocent demeanor to immediately make you trust and identify with him. However, it just isn’t enough; he never quite feels like a real person.
He is re-paired with his Spider-Man 2 colleague, Banks (Hunger Games, Slither) as his wife. Their relationship is sadly real and well done, but their time together is, by design, little. The rest of the supporting cast get progressively more odd from Washington (Django Unchained) to Liotta (Smokin’ Aces), to Linney (Savages). Each adding their particular brand of strange to the storm that blows through Maguire’s character’s life. Though the toughest supporting role is delivered, and delivered well, by Haysbert.
There is definitely entertainment, impact, and silliness to be found in this film, but it won’t knock it out of the park. However, if you want a sense of how important a first and last frame can be… watch the alternate beginning and ending offered on the disc. Those few minutes change the entire story without a moment in between the two being changed. Estes made the right choice in the final cut, but it was interesting to see what direction it might have gone in.