That scruffy-looking actor Steve Buscemi directs a sweet-natured "comedy" about depression, Lonesome Jim.
Starring Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Mary Kay Place (remember "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"), Buscemi centers on the everyday life of the titular 27-year-old (Affleck) coming back to his family home in Indiana.
First-time screenwriter James C. Strouse gives Buscemi the minimalist framework for a portrait patterned after his life in Goshen, Indiana.
Jim's mom (a wonderful Place) is overbearing and doting, happy her son is back home, while dad (Seymour Cassel) becomes more distant. It doesn't help that older son Tim (Kevin Corrigan of Slums of Beverly Hills) is also back at home and toiling in the lower rung of the family ladder business.
A remark about Jim telling Tim that he's worse than a mess nearly has dire consequences. The tale trudges along with insight into the maladjusted that includes family struggles and anxieties, especially when Mom is thought to be in the drug trade. Mark Boone Junior is a scene-stealer as Jim's shady uncle, the witty Evil.
Tyler, doing some of her best, more understated work since Heavy directed by James Mangold (Walk The Line), is Anika, a cheerful, sexy local nurse who has a young son. She develops an unlikely relationship with this morose guy which could bring him out of a very gloomy milieu.
Buscemi handles it all in an unsentimental, deadpan manner with little of the energy that a viewer would hope it might have more of, but it has a begrudging way of navigating oscillating fortunes in one's life.