Rated: R for drug material, language, some sexual references and nude sketches. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: June 22, 2018 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
Unoriginal and contrived, Shana Feste's Boundaries still has a knack for making a cinematic road trip (shot in picaresque British Columbia) bearable enough considering the company where disassociation is concerned.
It stars Vera Farmiga (arguably in her most interesting role since Up In The Air), Oscar-winning octogenarian Christopher Plummer and Lewis MacDougall, as Plummer's lightly bearded Jack Jaconi has been far from the ideal father or grandfather. His illicit, independent ways have led to a release from an elderly care facility. Farmiga's estranged daughter Laura has trouble relating to her dad's vanity and imaginative streak in his twilight (in which an advanced prostate cancer diagnosis is revealed). Son and grandson Henry (Lewis MacDougall of Pan) isn't staying in his high school because of his penchant for explicit sketches, including one of his principal.
So, in typical fashion Jack arrives at his daughter's door after unsuccessfully attempting to phone her and won't let him stay with her. But even though he wasn't the type to spend time with his grandson she still is lured into his move from Portland to L.A. to reside with her younger sister JoJo (Kristie Schaal) with Henry in tow. Both learn of his lucrative drug-dealing enterprise of the cannabis variety worth over six figures.
Of course, they'll drop in on unorthodox, other neurotic folks, like Laura's ex-husband Leonard, espoused with obnoxiousness by Bobby Cannavale. Not to mention old friends of Jack, including Stanley (Christopher Lloyd) and wealthy weed connoisseur Joey (Peter Fonda of the involving "Ulee's Gold" and "Wanda Nevada" which co-starred a young Brooke Shields).
The familial angst on view here has Feste (Country Strong, The Greatest) in her element heightened to a degree by how she gets this unlike trio to convey less than stellar material. Plummer isn't on a par as in the late-in-life candor evident in Beginners or, more recently, All The Money In The World as shrewd but metallic magnate J. Paul Getty. From Jack's abandoning and disagreeable qualities Plummer isn't able to make him very empathetic, but his continuing vitality can't be ignored. The rapport with a rangy, but hampered Farmiga can sparkle at times, but Boundaries just festers in its inability to push genre conventions where intentions don't reconcile convincingly.