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Around the Bend

Released: 2004

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1 hr 25 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jordan Roberts

Starring: Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, Michael Caine

A film is inspired by the relationship between Roberts and the absentee father he barely knew.

The surprise in the conclusion won me over.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 7 years ago

AROUND THE BEND is a character study and road trip about four male generations of a family. As the story opens, Grandpa Henry (Michael Caine) is living with his grandson Jason (Josh Lucas) and Jason's son Zach (Jonah Bobo). Jason, a banker with a bum leg, is in the process of getting a divorce. The three of them, along with Zach's nanny, live in close quarters in a tiny house.

One day, out of the blue, Turner (Christopher Walken), Jason's father, appears on the doorstep. Since Turner abandoned his family thirty years ago, Jason is not happy to see him. A grizzled guy like his father, Turner is an ex-thief and an ex-drug addict who has spent many years behind bars. The four of them exist uneasily, even if Turner is just to be there briefly before his bus takes him away.

Although Jason strongly resents his father's late intrusion into their lives, Grandpa Henry lectures Jason with the admonition that "a family carries each other."

In the film's first act someone dies. The funeral is held at a KFC restaurant -- the movie keeps hammering home the point that Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC and that they like to be referred to as a restaurant. The rest of the story takes place as the family goes from KFC to KFC, following a very precise ritual described in the dead person's will.

The performances are all strong and heart-felt, with none better than that of Walken, who steals scenes with a remarkably understated piece of work.

As the movie winds down, the big question is why the guys are being sent to their final destination in their KFC tour. Although I was kind of lukewarm on the picture before the ending, wanting to like more than I was able to, the surprise in the conclusion won me over.

AROUND THE BEND runs 1:25. It is rated R for "language" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.