JANIE JONES’ Abigail Breslin Continues to ShineOctober 26, 2011
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: JANIE JONES (Tribeca Film).
JANIE JONES' Abigail Breslin Continues to Shine
By Scott Zaretsky
Our baby is all grown up. Abigail Breslin, forever etched in our brains as our Little Miss Sunshine has definitely stepped up to Ms. Sunshine with her raw and honest performance in JANIE JONES.
Ethan Brand, the gritty singer songwriter in the band, … (wait, wait, wait, it’s coming) - the Ethan Brand Experience, are finally getting their comeback ducks in a row until he and they are met with some bombshell news, 13 year old Janie Jones. The news and gift is provided from a former flame and apparently a one night stand, played by Elizabeth Shue who’s en-route to rehab and with no other place for the kid to go … she drops the bomb and we have a movie, plot and a road trip.
If you’re thinking rock musician, kid, roadies, bar brawls, tour-bus, bonding, reconciliation, fallout, re-reconciliation and what it means to be a family – you’re totally wrong! Okay, I lied, it’s pretty much spot on but in a really unarguably good way.
The film, which had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010, was scripted and directed by David M. Rosenthal, who claims in the liner notes he was inspired by his personal experiences. (He’s a rock star with a kid he never knew he had with Elizabeth Shue – who knew???) The father-daughter film is somewhat predictable and has its sentimental montage moments and we know where this is going, but, it is a journey film after all and it’s not so much about the where it’s going, rather, how it’s getting there?
With a kid he never knew he had and a rock star attitude with drug- and booze-fueled antics and a schedule ahead, what’s a guy to do? Ethan, played by Alessandro Nivola continues his hard-partying ways, giving Janie, who after all crashed his scene gets a crash course of the not-so-glamorous rock star life hitting the road.
With Brand’s destructive behavior spiraling upward, the group’s future spiraling downward and his band members deserting him one by one leaving Janie to fend for herself in dive bars and sleazy motels along the way, there’s nothing left but part ways or
look to reconnect.
Now the bit of the predictable and sentimental part. Ethan, who loves performing and is desperate to finish the tour and revive his downward career, stays on the road as a solo act with … drumroll (although there’s no drummer left) … Janie. However, our Little Ms. Janie shows really inspiring musical talents, which helps promote “dad” towards personal introspection and is a big boost with his professional self-esteem.
I was really impressed with both Nivola and Breslin who actually sing and perform in the film, which really added to the ease and naturalism of their relationship and with the story.
Despite its clichés and simpleton constructs, Janie Jones really works. The stakes are set just high enough to be invested in their well-being. Director Rosenthal, much to his credit, doesn't make Ethan Brand out to be the side-swapped lovable loser; he's just a talented loser, pretty plain and simple. And with Abigail Breslin's charm as the lead title character, especially when she's forced to bail out her father from jail and getting in touch with the bail bondsman while putting on her manly-man voice, it makes for an enjoyable moment and a likeable film.
The songs hit home, nothing Dylan-esque or memorable the next morning, but pleasant in the moment, much like the film overall. Check it out! I can only imagine where Ms. Breslins' career is heading (we can all say, we knew her when …) ???
- Scott Zaretsky
Scott Zaretsky is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. While he has played cricket on several occasions and toned his tan while doing so, he sticks to being an independent producer as his vocation of record.
Look for JANIE JONES (Tribeca Film) in your local cable movies on demand section.
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