Upside of Anger

Out of the dark, mildew corner of intentionally forgotten actors, crawls Kevin Costner in his attempts to reignite his fallen acting career. A career that fizzled with bad choices and poor acting skills in horrible movies of equal stature like “Waterworld” (1995), “Tin Cup” (1996), “The Postman” (1997), and on. It seemed that Costner would never recover and return to the days of “Dances with Wolves” (1990) and “Field of Dreams” (1989) when people didn’t belch groans at the mention of this actor who unforgettably starred in a film with Whitney Houston. There’s a possibility that the “Upside of Anger” (2005) may very well mean the return of Kevin Costner, which may also have skeptic onlookers taking a gamble with their wallets on whether this comeback will be a flop or a flight.

Costner’s return was much like a dog entering a room, tail between his legs, eyes to the floor after chaotically dispersing the trash, chewing mid-sized Denon speaker wires to the metal, and then puking up an entire cake that was baked especially for a three year old baby on its birthday. In deed, it was an audacious act that is commendable and appreciated. Costner has very well fulfilled the shoes of a part that was simple, clumsy, and comical.

Mike Binder has created and directed a basically flawless film. Binder explores the family dynamic’s reaction to the father figure’s disappearance. Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen), a strong-headed wife, suspects her husband has ran away with his Swedish secretary, and so she immediately exhales anger and begins drinking alcoholically as a result. The four daughters outwardly express and hold in many captivating emotions. Binder, who has also appeared in movies as an actor (e.g. “Minority Report” - 2002), does a wonderful job acting as a sleazy radio producer who preys on young women. The most fascinating aspect of this film is the intelligent expression of female communication verses the male understanding of this phenomenon. This film includes both a male and female audience in the genre scope.

Unfortunately for Binder, he overlooked a couple things when fine tuning this already well-crafted film. For one, he mistakenly skimmed over the notion that while attempting to prove that peace arises from anger he was in fact cultivating anger. Possibly he saw this at the conclusion of the script, which is why the ending feels irrationally unexpected and ridged.

On the upside, this film far exceeds the expectations of a dramedy starring Costner and five dramatic women. There is a cohesive mixture of chuckles and tears that are well-placed and very humanly expressed. The visual expressions of Terry’s anger are unexpected and well-received. Binder will please all those who flock towards light-hearted films, and send them off with satisfaction at the depth and intelligence of this film.


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