| The Daytrippers
Director writer Greg Mottola
Writer Greg Mottola
Stars Hope Davis, Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber
Made US 1996
Reviewed by The Wolf
THE best indy movies are written by the director, have ensemble casts of relative unknowns and remain faithful to their concept. Flashy nods in the direction of Hollywood are discouraged.
Greg Mottola's premise is simplicity itself. Lewis (Stanley Tucci) is married to Eliza (Hope Davis). He's in publishing. She teaches. One morning, after he's left for work, she finds what looks like a love note from someone called Sandy behind the radiator in their bedroom. She takes it to her parents' house in the 'burbs, which isn't where Tom Hanks lives, or the brothers McMullen. It's lower class. Her sister, Jo (Parker Posey doing her emotional anorexic act), and Jo's intellectually constipated boyfriend, Carl (Liev Schreiber), are not staying in the same bed - well, not officially, anyway - as mum (Annie Meara) and dad (Pat McNamara) disapprove of premarital fornication at home.
They argue, discuss the note and decide to drive into New York to a) find Sandy, or b) find Lewis. Dad's car is on the blink. Carl indulges mum with a scene-by-scene description of his unpublished novel about a dog-headed man's adventures in the real (what's real?) world. Jo's a flake, who isn't interested unless she's the object of desire, and Eliza's having a crisis of confidence.
The Sandy thing is an excuse to get these people together. And it's worth it. As a study of character defect, "The Daytrippers" comes up barbed. It's a commonplace story of alleged sexual malpractice made wondrous by an inventive script and unselfish acting of the finest. Low budget is at the butting cut of new cinema. It retains artistic control and reaffirms an oft-forgotten belief that good writing is the first principal.