Ex-Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch helms a game cast led by Ray Liotta and Glenne Headly, both playing against type as a gentle couple pulled apart by hubby's casual infidelity. Pic is worth seeing to observe the thoughtful things Liotta does with potentially Hallmark material. Home screen seems like the right venue for "Comeback Season," although older auds might run down to the mall for this.

Ex-Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch helms a game cast led by Ray Liotta and Glenne Headly, both playing against type as a gentle couple pulled apart by hubby’s casual infidelity. Pic is worth seeing to observe the thoughtful things Liotta does with potentially Hallmark material. Home screen seems like the right venue for “Comeback Season,” although older auds might run down to the mall for this.

In a sitcom-like turn that doesn’t go gooey, Walter Pearce (Liotta) comes up against his next-door neighbor (Shaun Sipos), an arrogant jock already in Pearce’s bad graces for dumping one of his daughters. Inevitable denouement is dragged out and not very dramatic or funny, but the pic’s softness has its own peculiar brand of sincerity.

Liotta displays considerable relish while admirably underplaying Pearce, who has everything going for him until he confesses to wife Deborah (Headly, pink and frilly for a change) about his office affair with a pretty assistant (slinky Kira Clavell). She boots him out on the spot, cleaning out his bank account in the bargain.

At same time, neighbor Skylar Eckerman (an increasingly thoughtful Sipos), a high school football star, gets the arrogance knocked out of him after injuring himself while showing off. His sports career over, he’s left on his own with his parents out of town — just when Walter needs a place to crash.

Pearce’s two daughters (Brooke Nevin, Rachel Blanchard) aren’t so sure about mom’s hard line against dad, who makes it clear he’ll do anything to get back in the fold.

Rest of the tale consists of stalling tactics before the Pearces inevitably get back to where they once belonged.

Within the pic’s rather fuzzy framework, McCulloch does take a few risks, such as waiting until nearly the finish to explain why Walter felt the need to wander in the first place.

Nicely lensed effort uses offbeat Alberta locations to good suburban effect. Music choices, some of which figure in the storyline, could be a bit hipper — although this doesn’t matter much in a project that seeks to be conventional and slightly unpredictable at the same time.

Comeback Season

Canada

Production

A ThinkFilm presentation (in Canada) of an Accent Entertainment production, in association with Endgame Entertainment and Myriad Pictures. (International sales: Accent Entertainment, Toronto.) Produced by Susan Cavan, Shirley Vercruysse. Executive producers, Jeff Sackman, James D. Stern, Kirk D'Amico. Directed, written by Bruce McCulloch.

Crew

Camera (color) Jamie Anderson; editor, Mike Munn; music, Lesley Barber; music supervisor, Linda Cohen; production designer, Gregory P. Keen; art director, Andrew Moreau; set designer, Sean Blackie; costume designer, Jennifer Haffenden; sound (Dolby SRD), Michael Playfair; line producer, Jim O'Grady; assistant director, Ehud Ellman; casting, Robin Cook,. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Canadian Images -- competing), Oct. 8, 2006. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Walter Pearce - Ray Liotta Deborah Pearce - Glenne Headly Skylar Eckerman - Shaun Sipos Chloe Pearce - Rachel Blanchard Christine Pearce - Brooke Nevin
With: Kira Clavell, Brenda Campbell, Brendan Fehr, David Parker, Josh Emerson.
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