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"Roadie": Ron Eldard Channels His Inner Adolescent 

Wednesday, Feb 22 2012
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Belonging to the same coming-home-and-taking-stock subgenre as Young Adult, Roadie draws similar pessimistic conclusions about the options of American life, defined by the equally depressing poles of Getting Out and Staying Put, with their attendant regrets. As Roadie begins, Jimmy Testagross (Ron Eldard) has just been disinvited from a South-American tour with Blue Oyster Cult after 26 years of schlepping their gear. This is what he means to conceal when he returns to his native Forest Hills, Queens; after dropping in on his mother (Lois Smith), he touts fictitious successes to an old girlfriend, Nikki (Jill Hennessy), who has begun playing locally as a singer-songwriter and has married Jimmy's high school nemesis, Randy (Bobby Cannavale). Roadie takes place almost entirely in the first 24 hours of Jimmy's homecoming, much of which is spent in a bender that becomes, when Jimmy, Nikki, and Randy party together, a druggy crossfire, with each guarding his or her insecurities behind a bluff of aggression and exaggerated accomplishment. Director Michael Cuesta, best known for 2001's L.I.E., gets the domestic details of outer-borough New York — the extreme provincialism that grows in cosmopolitan Manhattan's backyard, references to Long Island favorites the Good Rats. And though Steve Coogan's ex-roadie in Saxondale is an infinitely deeper character, Eldard, with eyes projecting adolescent vulnerability and a body lost to awkward midlife chub, is enough to redeem Cuesta's indie commonplaces.

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Nick Pinkerton

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