Lonesome Jim Steve Buscemi

Mr. Pink cries the blues in a film that’ll have you blacked out in minutes. The second film helmed by Steve Buscemi features Casey Affleck as a failed writer who moves back into his parents’ Indiana home; he’s defeated and has no plans beyond looking depressed and wondering where it all went wrong.

Turns out his father (Seymour Cassel) is unsympathetic, his mother (Mary Kay Place) is a tad smothering and his sad-sack brother (Timothy Corrigan) has an "accident” that may be suicide. In the midst of this, our hero refuses to accept kindness — even as he sneaks around with life-force nurse Liv Tyler, he can’t see anything good in his life. He’s not alone.

Most of this dirt-brown digital production is unrelentingly grim, a matter compounded by the rather thin writing; it’s clearly the work of a pessimistic scribe (in this case, writer/comic artist James C. Strouse) and though the film tries to slap the hero out of his depression it doesn’t believe its own happy thoughts. Thus it can’t rally the effort to come up with compelling characters or apt metaphors to articulate its vision of misery.

A floundering preteen basketball team is as good as it gets in expressing the failure of the participants, and Tyler’s character is too obviously the world outside beckoning Affleck outside his wall that’s covered in suicidal novelist pictures.

By the time the film has decided to give our man his burst of optimism it’s too little too late: the sentiment seems tacked-on after a film that’s convincing at nothing except that its creators need a hug and a lollipop. (Alliance Atlantis)