Directed by: Tom McCarthy | 106 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Shaffer, Margo Martindale, David W. Thompson, Mike Diliello, Nina Arianda, Marcia Haufrecht, Sharon Wilkins, Clare Foley, Penelope Kindred
Tom McCarthy’s third film is the greatly underrated comedy “Win Win”, with a good starring role from Paul Giamatti, who seems to be looking for more and more roles in which he can show his acting skills. However, not everyone in the cast seems to have the same ambitions, which makes the movie struggling at times. Alex Shaffer is somewhat miscast as the “problem boy” Kyle who moves in with the Flaherty family, and David W. Thompson is not much better than his friend Stemler. But when the film is set apart from the youngsters, it is at its strongest.
The fact with which McCarthy (also screenwriter) tries to shape his story is interesting – the many characters each have their good and bad sides, which makes them realistic and ensures involvement of the viewer – but this does not get him a real indie hit. Apart from the occasional somewhat mediocre acting youngsters, the film also lacks a soundtrack of quality (Lyle Workham’s music is below average), and it actually takes a little too long for the story to really get going. Still, McCarthy has a lot to look forward to.
In addition to being a director and screenwriter, he often acts, which has landed him roles in films such as “The Lovely Bones” and “Flags of Our Fathers”. He is not as gifted as Peter Jackson and Clint Eastwood, but with his previous films “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor” he seems to be moving towards his own style. He all made his three films with cinematographer Oliver Bokelberg, and the smaller film suits him. Like some nice independent movie releases, “Win Win” was snowed under by the surprises of the year and the usual Hollywood blockbusters, but the movie is well worth watching. A decent comic drama. Nothing more and nothing less.