There's no denying that Steve Buscemi is a terrific actor who has given many memorable
performances throughout his career. What some may not realize, though, is that Steve Buscemi
is also an accomplished director, including two feature films and an Emmy-nominated episode of
the HBO series
The Sopranos. Buscemi now directs his third feature film LONESOME JIM, which
was produced under the auspices of

The film, written by James C. Sprouse, centers on twentysomething Jim (Casey Affleck), a
depressed, negative guy who gave up on a literary career after being chewed up by the grind of
living in Manhattan. Although he loathes his parents (Seymour Cassel and Mary Kay Place), he
opts to move back home, much to the chagrin of his older divorced brother Tim (Kevin Corrigan) as
Jim is clearly his mother's favorite (she calls him her "pretty boy"). This dysfunctional family settles
into a rather lackluster routine. Mom and Dad operate a ladder factory while Tim has managed to
avoid working in the family business. He does, however, coach a basketball team sponsored by
the company.

On one of his first evenings home, Jim borrows the car and drives around looking for a bar.
He finally settles in at Riki's 3 where a group of nurses from the local hospital are unwinding. Jim
strikes up a conversation with Anika (Liv Tyler), a single mom who sees something in Jim. After a
couple of drinks, they head over to the hospital where they engage in some of the quickest sex
yet seen on film. Like everything Jim seems to touch, the "date" was something of a disaster.

Tim and Jim compare notes on their lives. Each considers himself to be a failure: Tim because
his marriage failed and he was forced to move in with his parents to afford child support for his
two daughters. Jim because he couldn't make it in New York. After their conversation, Tim drives
his car into a tree and spends the remainder of the film in a bed, either at the hospital or at home.
Goaded by his father, Jim agrees to work with his mother at the factory where he becomes
entangled with his Uncle Stacey -- also known as "Evil" (played by Mark Boone Junior, a friend and
frequent collaborator of Buscemi's). Of course, with a nickname like Evil, you know trouble can only
be around the corner and that's where the film goes off track. Evil, one of the most lively characters
in the film, spends most of his time either doing or selling drugs. Eventually, his scheme is busted,
but the blame falls on someone else. Jim actually knows the score, but he does nothing for a long
time and thereby loses the audience's sympathy.

The requisite happy ending also devolves into cliché and leaves a bitter taste.

Buscemi has coaxed a nice performance out of Liv Tyler and gets nice supporting work from
Corrigan, Boone, Cassel and youngster Jack Rovello as Tyler's son. Affleck is something of a cipher
in the role of Jim. His monotone delivery and deadpan expressions are fine for the character but
they eventually become tiresome, and since the film is built around him, it drags the movie down.
The filmmakers seem to want to make a comedy about a depressive, but what we get is tedious
and trite.

            Rating:                         C -
            MPAA Rating:             Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug content
            Running time:              91 min.
Lonesome Jim
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.