$5 a Day (2008)

by | Aug 21, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

$5 a Day (2008)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Sharon Stone, Alessandro Nivola, Peter Coyote
Studio: Capitol/Image Entertainment CAP4501DVD [8/24/10]
Video: 1.85:1 (slightly cropped) for 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 5.1, DD 2.0
Subtitles: English for the hearing-impaired, Spanish
Extras: Director and cast interviews, Still gallery, Trailer
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: ****½

A delightful little movie that surprised me since it doesn’t seem to have seen theatrical release at all but is now coming straight to DVD and Blu-ray. Christopher Walken does another eccentric bit that’s superb and believable, and Sharon Stone is a kick.

It’s basically a comedy but with some serious and poignant sides to it. Walken is the n’er-do-well father and Nivola the son who served some time in prison for a scam they both did involving a used car, and the son took the rap for his dad. Though estranged from his grown son, the father asks him to drive him on a road trip to Mexico to get some experimental treatment for a supposed terminal brain tumor. Nat is an amazing con artist – trying to live the high life without putting out any money – hence the $5 a day theme. His PT Cruiser, for example, is a pink advertising car emblazoned for Sweet ‘n Low and they supposedly pay for all his gas. He gives out promotional phone cards to everyone instead of tips. Their route west from Atlantic City looks like a medical chart, according to his son. They stop at various nostalgic places. One is with a woman who obviously was well-taught by Nat, because glamorous Delores drives a Mercedes and carries out many similar scams to support herself. At another Nat inserts himself into a company party and is about to get beaten up when discovered, but his son makes use of his scam techniques — playing the health inspector job he had just lost – and turns the tables for his dad.

There are many hilarious scenes as well as touching ones, and the acting of all involved is top-rate.  Don’t know why this wasn’t released to the theaters first. The cinematography is fine and while the sound effects don’t make much use of the Dolby surround, the music track does extensively – sometimes almost too loudly. The film is also available on Blu-ray.

 — John Sunier

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