Boundaries Directed by Shana Feste
Starring Vera Farmiga, Christopher Plummer and Lewis MacDougall
Published Jul 03, 2018There are plenty of boundaries that need to be re-negotiated in Shana Feste's recent road-trip drama.
There's the single mom Laura (Vera Farmiga) who fills her life (and the car) with stray dogs, her son Henry (Lewis MacDougall) who gets expelled from school for drawing a naked caricature of the principal, and her curmudgeonly father Jack (Christopher Plummer) who's been kicked out from the nursing home for dealing weed.
As the three of them take off across the country to bring her father to her flighty sister JoJo (Kristen Schaaal) in Los Angeles, Jack enlists Henry's help unloading weed to customers along the way. The family, and the film, make plenty of detours, casually introducing new plot points like Henry meeting his father for the first time. New points of tension are casually dropped in, but they don't quite build to a coherent whole.
The film's humour operates similarly. There are some goofy moments, like Laura's boss wanting her to rent an endangered white tiger for her daughter's birthday party, and a fair amount of throw-away jokes, like how they are eating "candy corn casserole" at her father's friend's house. But the film lacks a certain internal logic or justification for the quirkiness, and the strange occurrences pop up and then fade away without totally finding their place.
Even with a strong cast, the characters' emotional journeys feel more like an arbitrary collection of quirks than nuanced story arcs, which is disappointing considering the film is based on Feste's own father. The dysfunction of Boundaries drives the viewer along a familiar road, and fails to arrive anywhere new.