film review – The Upside of Anger

news: film review – The Upside of Anger

Part of the pleasure in watching Allen and Costner comes from seeing them slip into characters they have always done best. Denny Davies, one time World Series hero, now spending retirement drinking beer, selling autographs and presiding over a radio phone-in show, comes alive as he mixes pride, disappointment, charm and sleaze. Denny is paunchy and slovenly, and has gone so far to seed that you expect dandelions to sprout from his head!

His soft, slow, easy demeanour complements Allen’s fierce, angular presence. The anger in the title belongs to Terry Wolfmeyer. She radiates rage, making her radiant and also a little intimidating. When Denny shows up, uninvited on her patio with a mid-morning tallboy, she tolerates his company and together the two do enough drinking to give credence to Homer Simpson’s observation that alcohol is both the cause and the solution to most of life’s problems.

Though the movie’s story is thin and the surprise ending an utter catastrophe, the two stars bring ease, wit and conviction to this domestic melodrama. Terry and Denny are easy to like and the film is satisfying as a chronicle of how they come to like each other.

Despite its occasionally overwrought scripting, the comedy is refreshingly black and its farcical edge is sharp. While Allen holds the focal point and is the driving force of the film, Costner’s delightful ease with his character and happily relaxed physique gives him a new lease of life. Allen, on the other hand, plays about the least relaxed character on the face of the cinematic earth, but she’s equally flawless doing so. She plays a sloppy drunk almost as appealingly as Costner and, when the two collide, the sparks are electric and well worth the wait.

****Midlife crises at its most neurotic and compassionate. What’s not to like?