"Management," if nothing else, is an excellent cinematic vehicle for "America's Sweetheart," Jennifer Ainston. Moreover, it is a broader vehicle for the male leading actor, Steve Zahn, and he does an excellent job playing the unsophisticated man, with few prospects.
Steve Zahn plays Mike, the son of family motel owners played by Fred Ward and Margo Martindale. Margo has made quite a good living playing an overweight mother of the sympathetic lead: some funny as in "The Dewey Cox Story," some despicable as in "Million Dollar Baby," some golden as in this feature. Her father played by Fred is a good, but distant man; somewhat in a zone since his tour in the Vietnam War.
Jennifer Ainston plays Sue Claussen, a traveling salesman, who the socially impotent Mike takes a fancy to when she beds down for the night at the local Mom and Pop motel somewhere in small town, Arizona. Mike is smitten by "America's Sweetheart" posing as a corporate salesperson and he finally finds something worth attaining - but is he worthy?
That is the story: That and what Mike will do to achieve success. I must admit, although it does seem a bit farfetched on the fringe, it does make for a pretty good story. Steve Zahn is a goofy guy and often so regular and plain as a thespian, he is often overlooked as an integral component in the success of successful films. I this little independent film, he drives its success. He is most every scene, and he is a sympathetic character, and that is just what Director Stephen Belber, who also wrote the screenplay, wanted.
The film is funny in parts, because of both of the leads working through their uneasy relationship, and former punk rock star, Jango, played by Woody Harrelson. It is a small role, but Woody puts his heart into every role as much as he does his support of hemp.
Personally, I support films like this one that take just 94 minutes of your valuable time to tell the story of Mike and Sue as a quirky romantic comedy that works.
Rated R. Released on DVD September 29, 2009.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.