With his feature debut, actor-turned-director Terry Kinney has gathered several generations of comic talent (without any good reason) to make a well meaning but painfully obvious life-lessons comedy. Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda star as a nephew and uncle who form an unusual bond over their separate neurological problems. Kinney’s adaptation of Sherwood Kiraly’s novel features Broderick as Cooper, a political journalist working in Chicago who gets swiftly demoted to the newspaper’s funny pages after a domestic accident leaves him with short term memory problems. Cooper attempts to take a break back at his family homestead in Missouri, but his routine is upset by the presence of eccentric Uncle Rollie (Alda), whose way out inventions include a device for recording fish poetry. Cooper and Rollie team up with Cooper’s ex-girlfriend Charlotte (Virginia Madsen) and her son to visit a baseball memorabilia show in the hope of selling a rare and highly valued card.
Dealing with the serious issues of dementia in a comic way requires a light touch rare in contemporary US comedies, and although Kinney elicits scene stealing performances from Alda, plus Bobby Canavale and Dylan Baker and rival card-sharks, a film about the importance of memory needs a few more memorable scenes and jokes than Diminished Capacity provides.
General release from Fri 20 Mar.