The newest film by writer/director duo Michael Testone and Jon Abrahams, Clover, has arrived on streaming/VOD platforms. It follows two Irish brothers, Mickey played by Abrahams (Scary Movie) and Jackie played by Mark Webber (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as they try to outwit the Italian Mob led by Tony played by Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale, The Usual Suspects). The film felt more like a comedy mostly due to the chemistry between Abrahams and Webber with a side of crime thriller spearheaded by Palminteri. The brothers go down their estranged rabbit hole of friends all while trying to protect a young teenager named Clover, played by Nicole Elizabeth Berger. Clover haphazardly associates herself with Mickey and Jackie after killing Tony’s son while the three “hitmen” were sent to kill Clover’s father.
Additional stars Tichina Arnold (Martin), Erika Christensen (Traffic, Swimfan), Jake Weber (Medium) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy) round out the impressive cast. The standouts though amongst all these names are Abrahams and Webber as the two play off each other as two hard headed brothers would without ever giving the viewer to think otherwise. The animosity and love between Mickey and Jackie is what pulls the viewer in especially Jackie as the dimwitted one of the two. What I felt threw off the momentum built at least somewhat was Berger’s performance as Clover. It would seem she would fall into the role more easily having worked with both Testone and Abrahams on their previous film All At Once but it felt like it took time for Berger to adapt to the persona. Palminteri and Perlman fall into their roles effortlessly and with the latter having limited screen time both actors come off as larger than life intimidating figures not to be messed with.
Unfortunately for Perlman as good as he was, in my opinion he was unnecessary and a case of wanting to “up the ante”. The story although centering on Mickey and Jackie add a few side plots that at the climax of the film offer a fun, bullet ridden twisted tale. I felt waiting for the end to “pull the trigger” on certain side plots rushed everything to the point where it was unsatisfying. The story that we invested our time in is turned upside down on us and with simplistic motives felt like a letdown. I would have preferred a deeper story of Jackie and Mickey on the run with Clover than what was offered and sadly for the brothers there is no growth or renewal of self. I felt Weber’s character Terry, an eccentric, looney bin escapee was a welcomed additional to the group and offered some unique elements to the fold that could have been played out longer. Instead the brothers came across simplistic good ole’ Irish luck but I do not believe that will be enough influence over audiences.
2 out of 5
Film is available via Streaming & VOD platforms Friday April 3rd