BOUNDARIES – Review – We Are Movie Geeks



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Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga in BOUNDARIES. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

With a fine cast headed by Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga, BOUNDARIES looked promising but the road trip dramedy manages to hit every cliche pothole along its way. Which is a shame – such a good cast deserved a better script.

Laura (Vera Farmiga) has daddy issues, and talks with her therapist about how she needs to set “boundaries” with her charming but unreliable father Jack (Christopher Plummer). Laura’s problem is a big heart, taking in endless strays and bordering on animal hording, but she is most devoted to her 13-year-old son Henry (Lewis MacDougall). It has been just them since her equally unreliable ex (Bobby Cannavale) abandoned them early on but Laura has carved out a stable life for her son.

When she gets a call that her dad has been kicked out of his retirement home for dealing pot. He’s broke and Laura has to pick him up. He wants to move in with her but Laura refuses, determined to protect her young son from the influence of her wily, law-breaking father. Laura’s plan is to put Dad on a plane to go live with her always-sunny younger sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal) in her studio apartment. When they pick him up, Dad insists they have to drive his old car to his new home, so he can transport his copious supply of adult diapers. Of course, Dad is transporting more than Depends and his secret plan is to sell his stash of pot to his old buddies along the way to raise some cash.

That sets up BOUNDARIES’ road trip premise. The strong cast has a lot of talent that goes to waste, including Christopher Lloyd as one of dad’s pot-smoking old hippie buddies, and Peter Fonda as another old buddy, although one who has done very well financially.

Writer/director Shana Feste could have crafted a charming offbeat family drama out of this film with this cast. Instead she steers the film into every cliche pothole and avoids anything like authentic human feelings. Laura complains endlessly about driving across the country but they are really only driving from Texas to California. Along the way, she can’t help but pick up more stray dogs, a cute conceit that is supposed to be heart-warming but instead comes off as contrived. Hilarity ensues every time charming Jack enlists his grandson’s help to unload the pot.

Feste’s script does not allowed the characters to evolve and develop into real people in real relationships. Every character remains two-dimensional and none of the sentiment in the film rings true. The cast sometimes tries to wring something out of the too-familiar situations but the trite script gets in the way. Still, they manage a few moments, although not enough to save the film.

BOUNDARIES is a disappointing experience that could have been much more, and a shameful waste of a good cast. No reason to take this trip.

RATING: 2 out of 5 stars