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Welcome to the Rileys
BLU-RAY disk
03.16.2011 By: Jaci Selby
Welcome to the Rileys order download
Director:
Jake Scott

Actors:
James Gandolfini
Melissa Leo
Kristen Stewart

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Doug and Lois Riley have drifted apart in the years since their daughter's death. Mallory is a teenage runaway barely making a living as a stripper and prostitute. Doug meets Mallory one night in New Orleans and moves in with her, obviously seeing her as a makeshift daughter figure.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There's a reason I don't watch American Idol or The Office. I can't handle uncomfortable moments. This movie? One. Big. Uncomfortable. Moment. Watching a family deal with the death of a child already makes me squirm, but add an incredibly awkward Kristen Stewart talking about how her underwear smells like a can of tuna, and I can't even breathe.

I understand these characters and where they are coming from, I really do. Dealing with the death of a child gives you carte blanche to go as craycray as you want. Being so poor you are willing to sell yourself to pay the rent in a post-Katrina condemned home is not only understandable, but easy to sympathize with. This is where these characters bring us. The Rileys (Leo and Gandolfini) deal with their loss in the only ways they know how. Leo is a ghost in her own home that she has not left in the years since her daughter's death. Gandolfini channels his grief into an affair with a waitress. Stewart is a dirt poor stripper scraping by in New Orleans when Gandolfini shows up for a business trip. The two form an unlikely domestic arrangement as Leo attempts to the leave the house for the first time in years.

I'm not gonna lie and say Kristen Stewart is ground-breaking here but her scenes with Gandolfini work, and they work well. The pseudo-father-daughter relationship makes sense for their characters and she's not constantly biting her lip and moping like she does in her TWILIGHT role. But she's also cringe-worthy in her oversexed stripper persona, dropping f-bombs and saying the most crass things I've ever heard, and I worked in an after-hours bar.

The film does drag and there are definite quiet boring lulls. The blue tone of the film doesn't help either. If I could give this film one word, it would be "sleepy". The backdrop of a modern New Orleans is depressing, as is the content and background of the characters. So don't go busting out the kettlecorn for this one. However, I will say the soundtrack is folksy and mercifully likable. If it seems like I'm being wishy-washy about my verdict here, its because this movie itself is wishy-washy. There are some compelling moments, but mainly there are long passages of nothing but slow dialect and low piano riffs.

THE EXTRAS
Creating The Rileys: Typical and boring behind-the-scenes featurette discussing casting and location. It's always weird to see the characters you just saw grieving and crying, laughing and joking a few moments later in these behind-the-scenes clips.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It's sad, and only vaguely hopeful at times and there are a handful of funny moments as this sad broken threesome become as much of a family as they can. This isn't a feel-good movie by any means, but it does have some redeeming qualities.
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