- Running time:
- 114 minutes
- Abigail Breslin -
- Janie Jones
- Alessandro Nivola -
- Ethan Brand
- Elisabeth Shue -
- Mary Ann Jones
- Peter Stormare -
- Brittany Snow -
Self-absorbed alt-rocker Ethan Brand (Alessando Nivola) is a legend in his own mind. Plagued with financial and personal problems, he’s in for a major surprise when a rehab-bound former fling he doesn’t even remember (Elisabeth Shue) drops in on his concert tour to drop off the daughter, Janie (Abigail Breslin), he never knew he had. It’s a messy situation that proves unexpectedly beneficial when Janie reveals musical gifts of her own that may be just the ticket to reviving Ethan’s flagging career.
The verdict: It isn’t easy to make an indie movie these days, so it’s dispiriting how many wind up exactly like “Janie Jones”—well-intentioned, containing enough quality work to qualify as watchable, and ultimately utterly disposable. A mere shadow of the hard luck music saga of “Crazy Heart” and the expertly observed father-daughter bonding in “Somewhere,” “Janie” boasts a trio of solid performances from Nivola, Breslin and the briefly seen Shue and respectable (if hardly unforgettable) original songs by Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay and Gemma Hayes. The merits pretty much end there. Writer-director David M. Rosenthal (“See This Movie”) doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve you won’t see coming. The story follows the exact same tried and true path you’ll get from a maudlin Hollywood movie like “Real Steel”: irresponsible parent decides to use the sudden arrival of an offspring for personal gain, the pair inevitably bond over their shared passions, and when it’s time to go their separate ways…well, no spoilers, but no surprises either.
["Janie Jones" is also available through the Tribeca Film on demand service from select cable providers.]
Follow Metromix's Geoff Berkshire on Twitter: @geoffberkshire
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