×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Montreal Film Review: ‘At Middleton’

Opposites attract and little life lessons are learned in this innocuous but thin romantic comedy set during a tour of a college campus.

With:

Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga, Spencer LoFranco, Nicholas Braun, Tom Skerritt, Peter Riegert, Mirjana Jokovic, Stephen Borrello, Daniella Garcia-Lorido.

An innocuous midlife romantic comedy set over the course of a few hours, “At MiddletonAndy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as two parents brought together as they tour a prospective college campus with their respective 18-year-olds. Naturally, opposites attract (within both generations), and little life lessons are learned. Helmer/co-writer Adam Rodgers’ debut feature is a painless enough diversion, but novel ideas and humor beyond mild chuckles are in scant supply. With capable but medium-wattage stars trying too hard to float thin material on charm alone, the pic seems likely to bypass theaters for OK prospects as a rental and cable item.

We first meet the leads as they drive to the titular institution of higher education, revealing dysfunctional parent-child relationships en route. Heart surgeon George (Garcia) is a persnickety sort exasperated by the casual attitude of his genial-jock son, Conrad (Spencer LoFranco), toward his academic and professional future. On the other hand, children’s retailer Edith (Vera Farmiga) embarrasses her driven, humorless, too-mature-for-her-years daughter, Audrey (Taissa Farmiga, a ringer for her older sister), by being the kind of free spirit whose grating qualities the movies typically mistake for adorability.

Breaking off from the canned official tour, the initially adversarial adults quickly discover a spark between them, even if it never comes off as more than standard narrative contrivance. Their wacky adventures include crashing an acting class and the inevitable getting-stoned-with-youngsters interlude. Meanwhile, their thrown-together kids achieve a tenuous bond from which one learns she needs to lighten up and he needs to apply himself. Peter Riegert and Tom Skerritt have single scenes as faculty members who help them arrive at those conclusions.

Though the bittersweet conclusion somewhat bucks formula, it’s hard to care about the leads’ pangs of romantic interest, since we know absolutely nothing about their married home lives or whatever fulfillment is lacking there. The most attractive element in a polished if modest technical package is Emmanuel Kadosh’s sunlit photography, which makes the fictive Middleton (actually a blend of two Washington state campus locations) look like a very pleasant place indeed to spend four formative years. Given the mild content, the pic’s R rating is a bit puzzling.

Montreal Film Review: 'At Middleton'

Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 24, 2013. (Also in Seattle Film Festival.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 100 MIN.

Production:

An Anchor Bay Films release presented with Film Bridge Intl. of a Cineson and Look at the Moon production in association with North by Northwest Entertainment. Produced by Glenn German, Sig Libowitz, Executive producer, Sonya Lunsford.

Crew:

Directed by Adam Rodgers. Screenplay, Rodgers, Glenn German. Camera (color, HD), Emmanuel Kadosh; editor, Suzy Elmiger; music, Arturo Sandoval; production designer, Vincent De Felice; costume designer, Lisa Caryl-Vukas; set decorator, Debbie Dahlstrom; sound (Dolby Digital), Tom Taylor; re-recording mixers, Ken S. Polk, Glascock; assistant director, Marc Dahlstrom; casting, Monika Mikkelsen.

With:

Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga, Spencer LoFranco, Nicholas Braun, Tom Skerritt, Peter Riegert, Mirjana Jokovic, Stephen Borrello, Daniella Garcia-Lorido.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, All-Female Salute [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content