Lonesome Jim is a loving tribute to depression, which is an odd angle right off the bat, isn’t it? It’s alternatively hilarious interspersed with brutal and almost unwatchable sadness and melancholy. Did I love it? Not at all. Would I recommend it? Can I go with maybe? I think it depends how patient you are and whether or not you’ve got better things to do. Guys and gals who were independently wealthy after fighting a winning battle against depression would probably be the ideal market for this flick. You’re welcome, marketing department for Lonesome Jim. Send a check.
Casey Affleck falls in line as lead actor here and he’s aptly named Jim. The film is directed by Steve Buscemi in what is essentially his directorial debut as you’ve never heard of any of the other stuff. Okay, okay, he directed an episode of “The Sopranos” but that’s not exactly a feature film. This film reminded me a ton of To Die For but without the consistent cleverness of that effort. It’s also a bit like Ghost World in the way it tends to convey without words. Ghost World works a little better as well. Buscemi doesn’t do a bad job here, he has a deft hand, I just don’t know that there was much to work with. The screenplay seems to be by a first timer and it’s not so hot. It could’ve gone better. It wasn’t the best and the brightest.
For the record I’m a Casey fan, maybe even more than his big brother. He seems a bit less polished and a little more approachable too. He’s not nailing Jen Garner. All of these are reasons to relate a bit more to young Casey. He’s good here, especially when going for comedy, but again, that’s not happening enough of the time. Liv Tyler also makes an appearance in her quest to make out with all the Afflecks she can. She’s just okay. My favorite fellow in the movie was actually Mark Boone Junior as Evil. This guy rules all, whether on his scooter or smoking copious amounts of dope laced with crack. Boo-yeah!
The reason Lonesome Jim will make a little less than eight dollars in the theater is because it has moments laced with nothing more than flat out bad feelings. It’s not interesting to watch people flail about with no hope; and it’s a static and flat story when it’s doing going this route. If it weren’t for some of the funniest moments of the year placed randomly throughout this film it would be much closer to a failing grade. Are the funny moments so good because they are a relief from the constant doldrums? Perhaps. I don’t know. I’m not really a top notch philosopher.
So to wrap this puppy up nice and neat, should you see this? Probably not. I gave it a B- because I see a ton of films that don’t make me belly laugh (and it’s an ample belly) but I think the general public will have a tough time swallowing this movie’s quiet failings. I mean if you really needed tons of laughs you could probably go somewhere where you weren’t subjected to 85 minutes of other stuff that’s not funny. Sorry Casey, I thought we had something special going.