A COOL, DRY PLACE

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: January 29, 1999

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Monica Potter,
Joey Lauren Adams, Bobby Moat

Genre: Drama

Audience:

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 98 minutes

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Director: John N. Smith

Executive Producer:

Producer: Katie Jacobs & Gail Mutrux

Writer: Matthew McDuffie BASED ON THE
NOVEL: DANCE REAL SLOW by
Michael Grant Jaffe

Address Comments To:

Content:

Mixed pagan & humanist worldview with moral elements; 10 obscenities & 3 profanities; no violence; three scenes of implied fornication & one of implied adultery; no nudity; alcohol use; and, wife abandons husband & son.

Summary:

A COOL, DRY PLACE is an engaging but lightweight story about a father who loses his high-powered Chicago job when he must take care of his 4-year-old son after his wife abandons them. The movie contains a mixed nonbiblical worldview, some sexual situations and brief strong language.

Review:

A COOL, DRY PLACE is an engaging yet limited tale about a single father who is forced to take care of his 4-year-old son when his wife leaves him. The script was adapted from a novel titled DANCE REAL SLOW by Michael Grant Jaffe and covers much of the same ground of KRAMER VS. KRAMER, without the searing performances of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep.

Vince Vaughn plays Russell Durrell, a former high-living Chicago attorney who, because of his sudden childcare responsibilities, loses his job and ends up in a small town in Kansas. Vaughn performs with his usual flair and edginess, which is why he is normally cast as offbeat psychos. In this role, however, he is compelling and watchable as a man who is just trying to do the right thing regarding his son. While Russ loves his son, Calvin, played by Bobby Moat, he dislikes his small-town law job and resents the fact that his wife, Kate, played by Monica Potter, left him without so much as a word. Vaughn is able to show the pain of Russ without using dialogue.

Russ meets a local woman, Beth, played by Joey Lauren Adams, who is spunky and seductive. Adams overacts her role as the new love interest, playing coyly with her hair and leaning too close to Russ for him not to realize she is interested in him. Just when Russ thinks life has turned for the better, Kate shows up inexplicably and suddenly to see Calvin. Russ is torn and eventually has to choose what is more important, career or family?

Vaughn and Bobby Moat as Calvin portray a believable and moving relationship as father and son. Writer Matthew McDuffie does a fine job of scripting the intimate life details of a father who is not sure where life is taking him. His writing is compact and spare, serving this kind of quiet material well.

Regrettably, the movie has no problem with Russ sleeping with Beth on their first date while he is still wearing his wedding ring, or with the suggestion that Beth's brother, Noah, is sleeping with his girlfriend at 16. Russ does get upset, however, when Noah uses foul language.

Director John N. Smith doesn't do this material and story justice. His directing is flat, almost pedestrian. Smith is known for his work on the TV movie THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT, about sexual abuse, and DANGEROUS MINDS, the movie about a female teacher in the inner city. Both these movies have more dramatic stories at their core. Smith's low-key approach here lends itself more to a TV movie, which is regrettable, because the movie asks an intriguing question: How is a single father to raise his child and maintain a high-profile career?

IN BRIEF:

A COOL, DRY PLACE is an engaging yet limited tale about a single father who is forced to take care of his 4-year-old son when his wife leaves him. Vince Vaughn plays Russell Durrell, a former high-living Chicago attorney who, because of his sudden childcare responsibilities, loses his job and ends up in a small town in Kansas. He establishes an immoral romantic relationship with a spunky young woman, but his wife returns to see the son, and Russ must decide what is more important, career or family?

Vaughn is compelling and interesting as a man who is just trying to do the right thing regarding his son. Writer Matthew McDuffie does a fine job of scripting the intimate life details of a father who is not sure where life is taking him. Director John N. Smith doesn't do this material and story justice. His directing is flat, almost pedestrian. Smith's low-key approach here lends itself more to a TV movie, which is regrettable, because the movie asks an intriguing question: How is a single father to raise his child and maintain a high-profile career? The movie contains a mixed, non-biblical worldview, some sexual situations and brief strong language.

In Brief: