On the Big Board
|A slapstick comedy disguised as Well Past thirtysomething: The Movie, this film's roots are in About Schmidt more than anything else.
|Surprisingly madcap, and not in a good way.
What Kevin Costner just doesn't do enough is portray baseball players. Other than Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For Love of the Game, the actor has stubbornly ignored the entire genre. Don't fret, though, Costner lovers (assuming any of you still exist). In The Upside of Anger, Mr. Waterworld will fill the void of career emptiness that has pervaded his recent work by again putting on a uniform.
No, wait. Costner won't exactly be playing a major leaguer in this outing. Instead, he will be playing an ex-major leaguer. So, this will be a catclysmic change of pace for Tatonka.
The Upside of Anger tells the story of the Wolfmeyers, a family of women suffering the ill effects of abandonment. Their father has recently bailed on the homestead, leaving all the women including his wife, Terry, feeling bitter and betrayed. The fact that Daddy is assumed to be off in Sweden having kinky Maggie Gyllenhaal-type sex with his secretary is oddly of little consolation to the five women.
Mother Terry (Joan Allen, who was nominated by Oscar for being The Contender) takes the entire series of events so personally that she frequently has nightmares (erotic dreams?) of her husband climbing Mount Personalassistant. As damaged women are wont to do in movies, Terry has the epiphany that drinking eases the pain. She isn't alone in this endeavor, either.
Family friend Dennis (Costner), a retired baseball player, joins her in celebrating the majesty of whiskey. In the process, he becomes the de facto male role model for the girls. His presence is important as imminent winds of change are about to converge, and their impact threatens to rip the all-too-tenuous fabric of the family apart.
In addition to Costner and Allen, the cast has other exceptional talent portraying the daughters. Evan Rachel Wood of Thirteen, Alicia Witt of Two Weeks Notice, Erika Christensen of Traffic and Keri Russell of Felicity comprise the family's second generation. All of them have received critical praise for various roles in their young careers, so The Upside of Anger has a very solid pedigree for its six member main cast. (David Mumpower/BOP)