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Lymelife (DVD Review)

23 Aug, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Prebook 8/25/09; Street 9/22/09
Universal/Screen Media
Box Office $0.4 million
$27.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language, some sexual content, violence and drug use.
Stars Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Rory Culkin, Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts.

If growing up in suburban Long Island during the late 1970s wasn’t grist for family dysfunction, try including Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by ticks that can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints and nervous system. In short, it can make you and everyone around you crazy.

Charlie Bragg (Timothy Hutton) is saddled with Lyme and has become an unemployed recluse because of it. His caustic wife, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon, in a strong departure from “Sex in the City” whimsy), seeks sexual solace in her success-driven boss, Mickey (Alec Baldwin). Mickey’s own wife, Brenda (Jill Hennessy), is a neurotic hypochondriac to her sons Scott (Rory Culkin) and Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) about the disease.

Juxtaposed against this neurosis, Scott — whose coming-of-age involves harboring requisite fantasies about Charlie’s high-school daughter, Adrianna (Emma Roberts), and avoiding a bully in school — attempts to come to grips with his workaholic father’s infidelity, its impact on his mother and his own general sense of encroaching dystopia.

Lymelife presents a slice of family angst that at times thinly resembles Ang Lee’s superior The Ice Storm (without the mind-numbing cold), thanks to an excellent ensemble cast. Winner of the international critics award at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, Lymelife breaks no new ground in the middle-class family angst genre (despite the ending). But it does showcase a collective strength among its female characters that should play well among more than chick flick connoisseurs.

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