Liv and Let Act

But, of course, that's where the Marty syndrome asserts itself. Mangold doesn't bother to show us what draws Callie to Victor; he presumes that audiences have been conditioned to take it on faith that the ugly duckling is always a nicer guy than the hunk. Thankfully, Pruitt Taylor Vince, whose quivering eyeballs add jittery quirkiness to an intense, baleful gaze, fills in many of the blanks with subtlety and nuance that suggest Victor's untapped strength of character even as Mangold's screenplay glosses over it. Vince's well-padded frame and thinning hair ensure that he'll never share Tyler's dilemma of convincing audiences to look past physical charms. To all outward appearances he resembles the quintessential schlumpy homebody Victor is supposed to be. To his credit the actor, unlike his director, isn't content to stop there. Vince makes you feel the burn of terminal timidity as he stumbles and stutters and struggles to work up the nerve to say something, anything, to Tyler's Callie. It's the finest performance in a movie bursting with them. The tired, overly sincere, and determinedly simple story line is a big obstacle to overcome, but quality acting from some surprising corners finally tips the scale in Heavy's favor.

Written and directed by James Mangold; with Liv Tyler, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Deborah Harry, Shelley Winters, Joe Grifasi, and Evan Dando.

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