$5 DOLLARS A DAY
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Alessandro Nivola plays a man living a secret life. He’s an ex-con who has changed his name to hide his past from his job and his girlfriend. When his past is discovered, he loses both of them, and he heads to Atlantic City to confront his estranged father (Christopher Walken), who spends more time working scams than paying for his life. Together they drive across country to reconnect and bring closure to their relationship.
WHAT I LIKED
You’ve gotta love Walken. Even in awful movies, he’s a treat to watch. And “$5 a Day” is a true Walken picture. He has all of his tics in place, and you get the full Walken experience.
This film reminds me of a similar movie several years ago called “Around the Bend,” which featured Josh Lucas as a son trying to connect with his dad (also played by Walken). Like “Around the Bend,” “$5 a Day” isn’t perfect, but it does examine some of the issues that we have when connecting with our parents as adults.
The acting is the highlight of this film, with Walken bringing his own presence but not falling into caricature. Nivola also does a fine job playing straight man. And with some decent supporting roles from Sharon Stone and Amanda Peet, we end up with a dysfunctional road movie that might give you a few pointers on how to scam a free lunch at a hotel.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
On the whole, I’m not wild about films like this, so the basic structure of the movie was only so-so to me. The performances were all good, but coming from a relatively functional family, I didn’t quite connect with all the characters.
There’s also a pretty obvious product placement for Sweet ‘N Low sweetener, which works in the film itself, but the 35 cent coupon that comes bundled with the Blu-ray or DVD is a little heavy-handed.
The Blu-ray comes with the trailer, still galleries and interviews with the cast and director, which plays somewhat rote.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the low-key road movie, and Walken fanatics.