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Don McKay

Pic works best as a showcase for its veteran cast, particularly Elisabeth Shue in a playful perf as a small-town femme fatale faking terminal illness.

With:
With: Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo, M. Emmet Walsh, Keith David, Pruitt Taylor Vince, James Rebhorn.

A film noir set mostly in broad daylight, “Don McKay,” writer-director Jake Goldberger’s mild riff on “Double Indemnity,” etc., works best as a showcase for its veteran cast, particularly Elisabeth Shue in a playful perf as a small-town femme fatale faking terminal illness. As the titular homme futile, exec producer Thomas Haden Church displays aptly geeky gullibility in a film that most resembles John Dahl’s twisty cable/theatrical hybrids of the mid-’90s. Unlike Dahl’s “Red Rock West,” though, Goldberger’s oddly laid-back thriller will stick exclusively to smallscreen slots.

Pushing an electric broom in Nowheresville, high school janitor Don (Church) is summoned to the town of Mount Raven by his childhood sweetheart Sonny (Shue), who looks to be the healthiest cancer patient alive. Suspiciously begging to spend the “rest of my short life” with a milquetoast loser, sexy Sonny turns up the body heat but somehow can’t get Don to the altar as required by her gold-digging plot. Despite the blackly comic appearance of a corpse about halfway thru, the pic doesn’t gather sufficient steam until its surprise-packed final reel, in which Melissa Leo earns laughs as Sonny’s independently scheming nursemaid.

Don McKay

Production: An Animus Films production. (International sales: Lightning Entertainment Group, Santa Monica.) Produced by Jim Young. Executive producers, Thomas Haden Church, William Earon. Co-producer, David Denney. Directed, written by Jake Goldberger.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Phil Parmet; editor, Andrew Dickler; music, Steve Bramson; production designer, Aleta Shaffer; costume designer, Andrew Poleszak. Reviewed at Solstice Film Festival, Minneapolis, June 18, 2009. (Also in Tribeca Film Festival -- Encounters.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo, M. Emmet Walsh, Keith David, Pruitt Taylor Vince, James Rebhorn.

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