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Boundaries

With every road trip comes baggage.

Christopher Plummer plays Jack Jaconi, the pathologically charming and selfish father of Laura (Vera Farmiga), and by the end of the opening scene, when she’s sounding off to her therapist about him, we’re certain that he must be some version of the monster she describes.

Poster for the road comedy BoundariesThen Jack shows up, and he’s such a smiley and debonair old coot that he doesn’t seem so bad. Not only that, he seems real. True, the tropes are all in place. Jack, who has just gotten kicked out of his senior-citizen facility, has $200,000 worth of marijuana he’s trying to unload. He also speaks his mind with such a sly-boots sense of humour that it takes us a moment or two to notice how merciless he is. Every line feels spontaneous, served up with Plummer’s dryly amused finesse.

Most of the story takes place on a drive from Portland to Los Angeles, where Laura plans to deposit Jack with her sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal), a goofy Deadhead and dog-walker. They stop off at the homes of several key people: Jack’s two old buddies, played by a warmly flaky Christopher Lloyd and a coolly flaky Peter Fonda, as well as Laura’s ex-husband, a flyweight scoundrel (Bobby Cannavale) whom she married because he was her dad all over again. Along the way, Henry, the ‘weird’ grandson (Lewis McDougall), a young artist who draws imagined nudes of people that nail their inner essence, forms the inevitable secret alliance with Jack.

Farmiga hasn’t had a part this good since Up In The Air, and Plummer is on a roll. The 15-year-old Scottish actor Lewis McDougall, with his surly delinquent smirk, makes himself someone to watch. Boundaries, to be sure, delivers you to a place you know you’re going, but there should always be room for a movie that does it this well.

– Owen Glieberman, Variety

 

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