SPOONER Matthew Lillard (SLC Punk, the Scream franchise) has proven himself a gifted, appealing actor in both comedies and dramas, so it's a little baffling to see him be so bad and grating in Spooner, a film he co-produced and Drake Doremus directed. Herman Spooner (Lillard), a hapless man-child about to turn 30, still lives with his parents (who want him out) and works as a car salesman under an asshole boss. When he meets thwarted-in-her-own-way Rose (Audrey Tautou look-alike Nora Zehetner), he falls hard and begins his awkward blossoming toward manhood. The only problem is that she's about to move to the Philippines. Will true love win out? Must you ask? A coming-of-adulthood story–cum–true-romance tale, the weakly written film (Lindsay Stidham did the honors) strains for self-consciously hip low-key humor (when secondary characters aren't broadly drawn and acted) and a tone of wistfulness/winsomeness (underscored by the soft-focus indie-rock soundtrack). It doesn't hit any of these marks, but it's Lillard who most disappoints. His Herman seems less naïflike than mentally challenged. Lillard's acting choices (sticking his tongue out and squinting like a 5-year-old to show he's concentrating on something; endless "Oh, golly" facial expressions) wear thin quickly, pushing the viewer away from the "hero" we're meant to be cheering. (Ernest Hardy) (Sunset 5)
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