A mid-life crisis could drive someone to buy expensive sports cars, change their entire wardrobe and even act like a completely different person; but what if…. that person never had a “life” to begin with. That is the case with Morris Bliss, played by Michael C. Hall (Dexter). He’s 35 years old with no job, I don’t think he ever had one, no motivation and on top of that he lives with his father Seymour, played by Peter Fonda (Easy Rider). Seymour is reminiscent to Archie Bunker from All in the Family, he’s a straight forward, blue collar worker who when he gets home pours himself a tall glass of Budweiser, sits in his favorite chair and turns on the television to watch sports. All he wants most in his life is for his son to get a start on his life as he feels he is just wasting it all away. Of course when the subject comes up though it’s more with a stern tongue than a loving shoulder.
At 35 Morris might resemble a big kid and why not, the first time we meet him he’s trying to get his girlfriend Stephanie, played by Brie Larson (United States of Tara) out of the apartment before, as he mentions repeatedly by mistake, “daddy is coming home!”… his girlfriend by the way is a high school senior who is also the daughter of one of Morris’ friends from high school. Morris really has no control over anything that is happening to him, it seems as if he is just a magnet for weird/bad luck. On top of this Morris also has a married neighbor Andrea, played by Lucy Liu (Kill Bill, Charlie’s Angels), who is extremely flirtatious with him seemingly out of nowhere. As an add-on to all this craziness there is Morris’ best friend NJ, played by Chris Messina (Devil, Greenberg), who on top of being a complete liar about his life’s events gets into a weird relationship with a wanna-be homeless/rich daughter of a cartel boss named Hattie Rockworth, played by Sarah Shahi (Fairly Legal).
Now if you got through that paragraph without going back two or three times and then taking an advil, well then congrats you’re the audience for this movie. Although I enjoyed this film in pieces when you think about it as a whole it just gets complicated and at times irritating. The film has a good cast and the chemistry between Hall and Fonda as a down and out father/son duo was fantastic; the scenes between them gave me weird chills as I have experienced some of those same moments with my father. Michael C. Hall did a fine performance in the film and like his portrayal of Dexter brought a detached innocence to the character that served well.
Through these strange encounters and situations, I think the time span is no more than a week, Morris is “awakened” to a new life with a fresh start. Based on the book Fifth East Bliss by Douglas Light, who wrote the screenplay alongside Michael Knowles, I am not sure if these sequences are better explained and have a better understanding since I have not read it. I feel the film rushed its main focus of Morris and just threw in everything else without giving it much of a backdrop. Enjoyable as a one and done weekend rental I just wish Peter Fonda and Lucy Liu were used more for their talent opposed to star power.
2 out of 5