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Comedy Movies - Crooked Hearts


Crooked Hearts
Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Berg, Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Juliette Lewis, Noah Wyle, Peter Coyote
Written and directed by Michael Bortman
MGM 1991
MGM Home Video 2005
112 minutes

A comedy about a dysfunctional family should not be even more dysfunctional than the family itself. This is the problem with prime time TV star studded Crooked Hearts. The dysfunctional family should be interestingly dysfunctional. Some have said Crooked Hearts is like a book to screen adaptation of a John Irving novel (it is the adaptation of a Robert Boswell novel) without the humor, they should have added without the thread in the story.

44 minutes into this movie and you are still trying to figure out what is going on, what the conflict is, and why Juliette Lewis' role seems to be to fall asleep all the time.

Crooked Hearts features lots of good actors who somehow do not seem to know much more about their character and its motivation than the viewer. The only thing they know is they are part of the same family.

All the viewer knows is that Charley (Vincent D'Onofrio of Law and Order: Criminal Intent) is angry with his dad, Peter Coyote, because he has been having an affair with a local waitress (Marg Helgenberger of CSI in a very small role) he (and his ten year old brother Tom) has their eyes on. The family moves to Washington State and the movie begins nine years after that revelation.

Tom (Peter Berg) comes home after dropping out from Berkeley and his family, following its tradition, celebrates his failure. Charley is angry and basically antagonistic but the dad insists on keeping the family together. When Charley's efforts to leave the family fail, he burns down the family home with about an hour to go into the movie. This is probably when the real drama starts.

By that time, only a very patient viewer will care and will not even bat an eyelash when he learns that not only Charley but Ask (Noah Wyle of ER) slept with his ex-girlfriend

Juliette Lewis is the sister, Jennifer Jason Leigh is Tom's dysfunctional new girlfriend Marriet, and Cindy Pickett plays the mother.

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