Alex of Venice
Film Review by Kam Williams
Just-Dumped Attorney Reorders Her Priorities in Midlife Crisis Drama
Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has been such a workaholic attorney that she’s been blissfully unaware of her husband George’s (Chris Messina) discontent with the marriage. Between shuttling their 10 year-old son (Skyler Gartner) to school and making sure his father-in-law (Don Johnson) takes his meds, the stay-at-home dad has grown tired of his role as Mr. Mom.
After all, his original plan was to pursue a career as an artist while caring for the family. But his domestic duties have kept him too busy to do any painting.
So, Alex is caught totally by surprise the day he announces that he wants out and summarily vacates the premises. Suddenly, she finds herself overwhelmed after having to juggle her job and her hubby’s responsibilities.
She’s used to putting in long hours at the office, including on Sunday. But it soon becomes clear that she has to reorder her priorities, despite her sister’s (Katie Nehra) moving in to help pick up some of the slack.
Alex begins to appreciate that there’s more to life than the rat race, and she decides it’s time she step off the treadmill to spend more quality time with her son. Furthermore, George was the only man she’d ever slept with. Now free to date, she impulsively gets involved with a hunky black defendant (Derek Luke) she spots across a crowded courtroom, even though she’s the representing his opponent in a hotly-contested civil case.
Thus unfolds Alex of Venice, a super-realistic slice-of-life adventure featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the title role. The movie also marks the noteworthy directorial debut of co-star Chris Messina, winner of a SAG Award for Argo in the Outstanding Cast category.
This quixotic character study proves to be less poignant than meandering, as it paints a plausible picture of a just-dumped divorcee doing her best to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexual references and drug use
Running time: 86 minutes
Distributor: Screen Media Films