x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Just Add Water

Why Danny DeVito took this role and then did nothing with it to produce a memorable cameo is baffling. But then this is a baffling film.

"You only catch glimpses of the promise of a good script": <i>Just Add Water</i>.
"You only catch glimpses of the promise of a good script": <i>Just Add Water</i>.

You get the impression that Just Add Water was trying to be something quirky, something special, but it falls short. It does not quite match its offbeat aspirations, but comes across as stereotypical and predictable. The film's protagonist, Ray (Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck), is a loser, stuck in the dead-end town of Trona. The town was abandoned by all who could leave, including the local police force, and has been taken over by the teenage criminal Dirk and his posse of whitetrash youths. But if living in Trona was not bad enough, Ray finds out that his wife is having an affair and his son (Jonah Hill, Superbad) is not really his son. On top of this, his mother and sister-in-law kill each other as they fight over his mother's secret recipe for lemon meringue pie. The only good thing in Ray's life is his trips to the supermarket, where he sees the checkout girl Nora (Tracy Middendorf) as the love that should have been and, maybe, could still be. The plot is very predictable, which is not always a bad thing if the dialogue sparkles, but here you only catch glimpses of the promise of a good script. This is a bizarre film, but the weirdest thing is Danny DeVito's involvement. Why he took this role and then did nothing with it to produce a memorable cameo is baffling. But then this is a baffling film.

cpyke@thenational.ae