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Movie review: 'The Details' is dark farce with no energy

Published November 9, 2012 2:26 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Imagine a Coen brothers movie where none of the characters are likable and none of the jokes pay off, and you'd have writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes' "The Details."

Tobey Maguire plays Jeff Lang, an obstetrician whose happy Seattle life starts to unravel when raccoons attack the backyard sod his frigid wife, Nealy (Elizabeth Banks), never wanted in the first place. Jeff's frustration leads to extramarital moments with his medical-school pal Rebecca (Kerry Washington) and his slightly loopy neighbor Lila (Laura Linney), prompting widely varied reactions from Rebecca's hot-headed husband (Ray Liotta) and Jeff's rec-squad friend (Dennis Haysbert).

Estes ("Mean Creek") never seems to find the balance between dark farce and existential drama, and the cast — especially the goofy Maguire — is left trying to sort it all out. The bright spot is Linney, who infuses Lila with the sort of manic energy the rest of the film could have used.

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'The Details'

Opens Friday, Nov. 9, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for language, sexual content, some drug use and brief violence; 101 minutes.