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Diggers
DVD disk
May 18, 2007 By: Mathew Plale
Diggers order
Director:
Katherine Dieckmann

Actors:
Paul Rudd
Maura Tierney
Josh Hamilton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In this coming-of-age story, a group of 30-something Long Island clam-diggers cope with life and the changes brought on by a rival corporation.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Diggers doesnt really follow a group of Long Island clam diggers; that would imply they actually do something. No, this clam-digging gang of four and their friends/family are more than content with their two-star existences, where the middle finger is the perfect greeting.

The reason films like Diner and (to a lesser extent) Dazed and Confused work is that were with likable characters. The group were with for 90 minutes here offers a minimum of redeemability (though what works does so remarkably). Theres Cons (Josh Hamilton), whose thrills hardly exceed smoking pot and watching TV, and its safe to assume Jack (Ron Eldard) only bought a pickup truck for a steady stream of blowjobs from strangers. Frankie (screenwriter Ken Marino) is married, but that doesnt stop him from acting younger than his four children--not to short-change his character too much, because Marino seems to have written himself the only other developed lead. The other is Hunt (Paul Rudd, pushing his range past comedic sidekick), who tries to fill the boots of his deceased father to protect his older sister (Maura Tierney) from Jack.

Marinos screenplay (brought to occasional life by director Dieckmann) offers a number of offbeat laughs, like when Rudds Hunt sets his fathers urn on a pool table ledge to play doubles. Or when Hunt is lambasted for approaching Zoey, the girl on the dock, who much prefers their flirtation from a distance. And whats a coming-of-age film without the blossoming awkward relationship? Diggers is supplied by Zoey (Six Feet Under alum Lauren Ambrose) and Hunt, which harvests an unlikely sweetness for the film.

Diggers, despite being set during the mid-70s (dont worry, theres a solid Jaws reference), never really takes advantage of its soundtrack like other reminiscent films, ala the aforementioned Diner and Dazed and Confused, which were laced with songs of the era; Dion & the Belmonts and Peter Frampton, respectively. The best song these guys listen to is by Lee Michaels, because apparently Long Island is void of Foghat records. Though, in a way, its far better to have a 70s-set film that ignores its eras tunes than a modern coming-of-age with those dreadful Shins bannered across the movie like they were ever in style.

But, if anything, Diggers at least feels real, even if it does hit every coming-of-age mark that youve ever seen. Its a story of growth, even if there isnt much of it. If theres one thing to be admired about Diggers, its at least refreshing in the indie-sense, never relying on your overplayed Sundancin quirky charactersinstead, just simple ones you may get bored of.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Director Katherine Dieckmann and Writer/Actor Ken Marino: This is a very welcoming commentary, as the director and writer/co-star bounce off each others comments comfortably. The two offer a number of stories from production and how the whole deal came about. Definitely worth a listen.

Higher Definition: Diggers Episode (28:21) is an interview with Dieckmann and Marion, conducted by Robert Wilonsky. The twosome again offers great chemistry with each other (and many stories) as they field the journalists bland questions. Just one from me: could this guy come off as any more of an amateur?

Baymen (56:31): Yawnthis feature-length documentary on real-life clam-diggers doesnt belong on this disc; its too boring, and even if you loved Diggers, you probably wont be too thrilled by this. A complete waste of disc space.

Deleted Scenes/Outtakes with optional Commentary (31:04): While these 18 scenes were cut down for smart reasons and not just time, some are worth it, particularly the ones that flesh out the characters more (Hunts panic attacks, which are discussed in the commentary, are featured).
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Diggers is a fine little indie film that will likely connect with the male viewer more than the lady. Backboned by a strong screenplay and a few good performances, Diggers is a recommendation to those who enjoyed Diner and Garden State.
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