Shockya: "Welcome To The Rileys" review

Shockya reports/reviews:

Title: Welcome to the Riley’s

Directed By: Jake Scott

Starring: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo

If you’re going to make a straight drama with zero bells and whistles, you better have a very fascinating story up your sleeve. Writer Ken Hixon may have developed a unique dysfunctional family film with curiously troubled characters, but on screen, much of that interest is extinguished by a lack of emotion, awkward relationships and primarily the film’s sluggish pace.

Doug Riley (James Gandolfini) isn’t a happy guy. He lost his only child in a car accident, his wife Lois (Melissa Leo) is agoraphobic and his only real solace comes from an extramarital affair with a diner waitress. While in New Orleans for a business conference, Doug just can’t get with it. Rather than adhere to the schedule, he ditches the convention and heads straight for a local strip club. That’s where he meets Mallory (Kristen Stewart), a supposedly 22-year-old stripper he winds up taking home and spending the night with. No, not for any dirty business, but just to be nice.

The next morning Doug awakes not to rush off to work, but to get to the store to buy the tools necessary to refurbish Mallory’s dilapidated abode. As the days go on the two begin to develop a father-daughter-like relationship with the exception of the fact that Doug pays Mallory $100 for every day he stays with her. Then again, the fact that he docks her a dollar for every F-bomb she drops, puts the connection right back into daddy-daughter territory. Meanwhile, back at home, Lois is desperately trying to overcome her fears and drive down to New Orleans to reunite with her husband.

Director Jake Scott gives you a taste of what to except in the very first sequence; a dreary display of an empty Doug running through the usual motions, card game with the guys, waffles at the diner, alone time with his waitress, Vivian (Eisa Davis), and then home to Lois. Even when he’s all cozy with Vivian, there’s a dismal lifelessness to Doug and even when he does perk up after meeting Mallory, that gloomy atmosphere always remains.

As far as the story goes, the raincloud that follows Doug wherever he goes is quite effective and paints a far more realistic picture. This is a guy who’s been suffering for the past eight years with the loss of his 15 year-old daughter; just because he finds a replacement doesn’t mean he’s going to walk around with a big grin on his face and Gandolfini does a fantastic job keeping Doug’s emotions in check. He isn’t moping around the entire film, but never seems particularly happy either. If you can get past that somber tone, the sole issue with his performance is his relationship with Stewart.

They’re certainly not supposed to just fall into a father and daughter scenario, for Mallory rebels against the notion and there’s a sense that Doug recognizes that that wouldn’t be right, but they’re a bit too cold. It’s hard to believe they really care for one another. Leo highlights this issue when she shares just a few minutes with Stewart alone on screen and garners far more passion than we’ve seen between Gandolfini and Stewart the first hour of the film. Unfortunately, other than a few particularly memorable moments, Leo is largely wasted in a primarily absent role.

As for Stewart, she’s okay. She does what’s required of her, which isn’t much of a stretch from her typical moody characters, but there still is something that doesn’t quite work. Both she and Gandolfini put on above average performances, but they just don’t jibe well and between the two, that causes Gandolfini’s performance to far overshadow Stewart’s. Gandolfini’s character is so subtle and Stewart’s so over the top, dropping every dirty word imaginable in a single sentence, that she can seem like she’s trying too hard. Their relationship and Stewart’s character don’t feel as natural as they could be, but their situation is interesting and innovative enough that you’re still interested in their circumstances.

However, even with that curiosity, the good performances and adequate filmmaking all around, Welcome to the Riley’s is just plain old boring. As much as you may want to pay attention and go along with Doug for the ride, things get so slow, it’s hard to keep your mind from wandering. Combine that issue with the grim subject matter and you wind up with a film that’s too difficult to enjoy.

Technical: B

Acting: B-

Story: C+

Overall: B-

Views: 33

Tags: Shockya:, Welcome To The Rileys, review

Comment by Twilight nut on October 20, 2010 at 9:10am
So basically Stewart plays herself and James Gandolfini still playing Tony Soprano.
Comment by Lindy Rosa Bella on October 20, 2010 at 11:26am
@Twilight nut: Back off honey. We've had enough of you. you are jealous sick of Kristen and it's really getting annoying because you have a big mouth to match.
Comment by Lindy Rosa Bella on October 20, 2010 at 11:30am
this is one review. It's an indie movie, it's not supposed to be some huge thriller with a bunch of romance and action. It's almost like an independent film. Kristen is very talented and real and I really want to see this movie, even if it's a little boring. I like the idea of it. A girl who's going down the wrong road..a couple who lost their daughter...take her in a help her..sounds good enough to me. Kristen seriously had to get into major character here. I've seen some of the clips. She's very believable. Yes, she portrays a lot of her self onto her characters but it's in a good way. She's got maxi and that's what characters like these need.
Comment by taylor walton on October 20, 2010 at 12:38pm
twilight nut:GO F*** YOURSELF.Sorry fellow twifans for my language but i CANT STAND her anymore.
Comment by robsten42 on October 20, 2010 at 1:03pm
I agree with taylor walton (don't worry about the language- sometimes it just has to be said). Kristen is an awesome actress and a good person, I think some people are just jealous. It doesn't matter how many times people put Kristen down TRUE twifans will always respect and adore her. If I knew how to insert a photo here it would be the one with Kristen flipping off the papz in Australia directed toward twilight nut. Okay, I am done venting so I can be nice again.
Comment by Bella Nicole on October 20, 2010 at 1:08pm
I like Kristen and I like her style, but I have yet to see a movie where her acting truly wows me. Maybe this one will be different but from the other reviews I have read, it doesn't sound like this will be an Oscar-worthy performance.
Comment by juanita on October 20, 2010 at 1:26pm
thank you rosa & taylor for telling that nut job off.

i've read several reviews that say just the opposite of this one. i can wait and judge for myself.
Comment by Aidinslevel on October 20, 2010 at 1:33pm

Comment by Jessie Rodgers on October 20, 2010 at 7:30pm
Hey, Perri Nemiroff (Mr review guy), you don't get out much do you? I mean apart from following a bunch of sheep around doing what everyone else seems to think "should be". How about you start looking outside your frilly little box and start looking at movies with REAL stories made by ppl that AREN'T marching to the beat of some hollywood drum? I know I know it's all to hard for you huh? Well how about you chat to a few ppl that have taken the time to really watch this movie and by FAR have been giving all involved a big thumbs up? I mean you may even learn to enjoy life out of the pond with all the other bottom feeders... Who knows?
NOW BACK THE HELL OFF WTTR AND WELL OFF KRISTEN AND JAMES. They are awesome in their own right and from what I'VE seen this movie is gonna kick your ass review all over town!!!
PHEW, just needed to get that off my chest.
OH and FYI Twilight nut you REALLY do not deserve to use the word twilight in your name. Go back in the pond baby your fans are waiting!!!
Comment by sandra jones on October 20, 2010 at 9:53pm
For some reason when i read that review i felt like someone was attacking a family member of mine!That's how much i support Kristen Steward.It annoys me that people who have not accomplished a fraction of what she has accomplished in her twenty short years even get to comment on her work. The only way to shut them down is to show up at the box office.That's where i'll do my talking. So haters prepare to bow down and give props to the hardest working women in Hollywood!!!

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