The Details

Directed By: Jacob Aaron Estes

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington, Ray Liotta, Laura Linney, and Dennis Haysbert

I'm rarely at a loss for words when it comes to churning out a movie review.  For Jacob Aaron Estes's The Details, I find myself in this fairly unfamiliar position.  This movie is just so strange and uninteresting that I don't quite know where to begin writing.  However, I do know that this indie comedy-drama is not something you should find yourself watching.

There is trouble in paradise for Jeff and Nealy Lang (Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks).  Their wedding anniversary marks a different occasion this year, the reality that they have not had sex in six months.  Jeff takes to the Internet to meet his needs and eventually even sleeps with his longtime friend Rebecca Mazzoni (Kerry Washington).  He fails to cover his tracks though, and Rebecca's husband Peter (Ray Liotta) learns of the deed.  Disaster looms in the air as Peter confronts Jeff.  Peter then gives Jeff an ultimatum, to tell Nealy about his infidelity or to cough up $100,000 to cover up this dirty little secret.

Meanwhile, Jeff has also been working hard to maintain his home.  On a nightly basis, he hunts down a raccoon that has been tearing his backyard apart.  He eventually lays poison in the yard to kill the little animal.  Jeff is also building an addition to his home.  However, he doesn't have a permit to do so, and he needs to keep his eccentric neighbor Lila (Laura Linney) quiet.  That becomes easier said than done after he kills Lila's cat Matthew with the poison intended for that raccoon and she learns about his infidelity with Rebecca.  All in all, Jeff's life is quickly spinning out of control.

The Details is definitely a weird one.  There's a certain randomness to the film that leaves me wanting no more.  As Maguire's Jeff so aptly describes it at the beginning of the movie, the details of this disaster can be found in a house plant, poison, a kidney, sleeping pills, a bank transaction, and Internet porn.  If that doesn't spell a random assortment of events, I don't know what does.  Combine these details with an oddball performance from Laura Linney, a quirky score from composers Tom Hajdu and Andy Milburn (tomandandy), and an unusual obsession with raccoons, and you'll get something that doesn't hold my attention.  This film completely lacks coherence.

There's certainly a mixed bag of performances in The Details.  While Tobey Maguire is a good narrator, he is one boring lead.  With scandal and secrets plaguing his life, you would think that Maguire would give a fairly emotive performance.  Instead, he often gives bland reactions to the traumas of his character’s life.  In contrast, Laura Linney is completely over the top.  While occasionally amusing, her character is more often annoying.  Elizabeth Banks and Kerry Washington give fair performances, but they don't do any acting in this flick that would stand out in their respective bodies of work.  The only reasonably enjoyable character in the film is Ray Liotta's Peter Mazzoni.  As the pissed off Italian husband of Washington's Rebecca, he brings the only enjoyable spice to the film.  The problem is that writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes completely underutilizes him and writes his character off in the most absurd fashion.  I won't say what happens with Liotta's character, but I will say that it is quite dissatisfying.

The Details is a fairly boring and altogether strange affair.  Despite the crazy events of the movie, it's very underwhelming because everything feels completely random.  Without a few kamikaze shots, you won’t be able to get through this one.  The Details gets a wasted rating.  You'll be fine if you miss this one.