Movie Review-Janie Jones

Plot-Janie Jones is a young girl who has been abandoned by Elisabeth Shue who plays her deadbeat former-groupie slutty mom. And Janie’s dad is a former rock star who has no idea he has a daughter and this is based on an actual true story. Given, what I know about music this film may be based on a lot of true stories.

Review-The box claims to be the best musical film since Walk the Line, when I read that I had to think. “Was there any musical films since Walk The Line”? The film itself while not perfect was not bad. It is very dramatic, and sometimes overly dramatic to the point that the line of overacting a scene is not a missed thought. Abigail Breslin really shines in the title role as a kid who does not want to be left on her own but yet can take care of herself if needed. She really is starting to come into her own, and given her performance in this film proves that she is starting to graduate into leading women roles. Elisabeth Shue who failed to make the comeback spark with Piranha 3D, shows some glimmer of what we loved about her back in the 80’s with films like Adventures in Babysitting and The Karate Kid playing her groupie mother.

Alessandro Nivola who thru the years had some bit roles in a few major films like Face/Off really seems out-classed as the down on his luck has-been musician/ father Ethan Brand. He played the part not like he was inspired, but like he was trying to rip someone off like any other down on his luck deadbeat musicians who tries to make good. It did not seem genuine to me at all. The performance at times came across as wooden or to a point almost condescending.

Also included in the cast is Frank Whaley, who also tried to get a comeback with his role in Vacancy a few years back as his band mate. Brittany Snow who plays Iris a drug using slut who Ethan has on his arm, Snow gives us a performance that shows she is capable of doing more than being someone’s shadow. Peter Stormare also costars as does Joel David Moore.

The scenes with Frank Whaley playing Ethan’s band mate were really a relief bringing some comic element to this overly dramatic film. My main issue with the film is that it just seemed to really break no new ground with both its storytelling and characters. Ethan was bland, and never seem to come across as a character you can root for or care about. Janie Jones shows that Bresslin is faithful to her indie roots, and she really shined the brightest of anyone in this film. Brittany Snow also shined as did Shue, and while I would say this film is worth a watch, I am not sure who would really want to see it? The music is folk, the pacing is very slow and the script is just over written dramatic to the point of exhausting waiting for the film to pick up the pace. But, if you can get into the characters of the film it is not a bad film, it just seems like such a missed opportunity.

7 out of 10