Saved by Bella Swan

1 Nov

In Welcome to the Rileys, James Gandolfini trades in his Jersey brogue for a midwestern twang and stars as Doug Riley, one half of a still-grieving Indiana couple that lost its 15-year-old daughter in a tragic car accident eight years prior. Doug has dealt with the loss by being emotionally distant, and his wife, Lois (Melissa Leo), has dealt with it by not even leaving the house. Then, while on a business trip to New Orleans, Doug meets Mallory (Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart), a stripper with a strong resemblance to Doug’s daughter. Feeling like he has a second chance at the life he was denied, Doug decides to stay in NOLA and take care of the young lady — a move that prompts Lois to finally leave the house and join him.

Directed by Jake Scott, Ridley’s son, Welcome to the Rileys is fine — nothing more, nothing less. The screenplay (by Ken Hixon) has its holes, and at some points, Gandolfini’s accent doesn’t help matters. But he’s alright, and so is Stewart (who shows barely any skin, despite playing a stripper). The best of the three is Leo, whose performance is understated and seemingly heartfelt. I’m not expecting Welcome to the Rileys to stick around in theaters long, and I can’t really say I would have missed it had I not seen it. So I’m giving it a C.

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