'The Open Road'
(Justin Timberlake, Jeff Bridges, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2009 / Anchor Bay)
Overview: In this heartwarming comedy, minor leaguer Carlton Garrett (Justin Timberlake) takes an unexpected road trip to track down his estranged father, legendary baseball player Kyle Garrett (Jeff Bridges) when Carlton’s mother (Mary Steenburgen) becomes sick. Knowing his charming yet painfully immature dad’s likelihood to disappoint, Carlton enlists his on-again-off-again girlfriend Lucy (Kate Mara) for emotional support.
DVD Verdict: Texas-born writer-director Michael Meredith has only made one other feature, 2002’s 'Three Days of Rain,' though he did write 2004’s ''Land of Plenty for Wim Wenders. His latest film deals with the grown son of a famous athlete, played respectively by Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges, as they drive cross-country to visit Bridges’ ailing ex-wife (Mary Steenburgen).
In truth, I am a big Jeff Bridges fan and appreciate everything he has done and such, but I didn't feel grabbed by this one at all. Not that there were horrible performances or bad film making, it just had a slew of little things peppered throughout that made me not give this the above average recommendation.
The story follows a minor league ball player (Timberlake) suffering a slump, who has to get his famous big league dad (Bridges) to make a final visit to his estranged and dying ex-wife. Through some poorly staged events, they have to make it a road trip together across several states (instead of flying) to make this union happen. The scenery is quite beautiful in some of the sequences, and it even upstages some of the sparse dialogue as the long-parted kin find a way to re-connect. Kate Mara is the tag-along friend who offers the love interest of Timberlake, but the chemistry never materializes in ways it should have.
I loved the opening aerial shot of the baseball game and some of the color/contrasts in the open road shots shine nicely, but the amount of indoor and dark sequences show several weaknesses. Anyway, come on board and watch this road movie, and stay to the end ... just to see if they’ll patch things up by the end of the trip, and that Timberlake and Mara will declare their love for one another!! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Michael Meredith and Actor Jeff Bridges
"Behind the Scenes of The Open Road"