Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Soloist

The trailer for this film has been in theaters for almost a year. When a picture's been on the shelf that long, you have to approach with caution. If it wasn't for the star power of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, this would have been a pass altogether.

Unfortunately good acting by Mr. Foxx and Mr. Downey Jr. can't save the melodramatic script, even though it's based on a true story. The film tries too hard to be many things. It tackles mental illness, the homeless, and the powers of music and friendship.

As much as Mr. Ayers (Jamie Foxx) is a fascinating subject, the film never truly engages the viewer and the subplot of Mr. Downey Jr. and his ex-wife (Catherine Keener) is confusing and unnecessary. Steve Lopez (Mr. Downey Jr.) is a writer for the Los Angeles Times. Finding Mr. Ayers on the street, befriending him and then telling his story was a worthy task. But you do have to ask yourself, just how much of this "friendship" becomes exploitive, considering the countless newspaper articles, book deal and movie rights that have ensued.

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