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Friday, September 20, 2013

COMEBACK SEASON -- movie review by porfle

(NOTE: This review originally appeared online in 2006 at

COMEBACK SEASON (2006), which was written and directed by familiar "Kids in the Hall" alumnus Bruce McCullough but bears no resemblance to that style of comedy whatsoever, begins with two major fractures.

First, an arrogant, conceited high school star quarterback named Skylar (Shaun Sipos, FINAL DESTINATION 2) trips over an electrical wire as he's strutting onto the field for a big game and sustains a career-ending knee injury. Meanwhile, his next-door neighbor, Walt Pearce (Ray Liotta), a middle-aged family guy whose marriage has grown stale, shatters it by having sex with a co-worker. He regrets it immediately, but the damage is done and his heartbroken wife Deborah (Glenne Headley) throws him out of the house as their spiteful older daughter Chloe (Rachel Blanchard) eggs her on.

Before long, Walt gets into a shoving match with a motel clerk and Skylar, while drowning his sorrows in a sports bar, takes a beer mug and launches a forward pass through a big-screen TV, and the two of them end up in the same jail cell. (Did I mention that they hate each other? Of course they do.)

Since Walt has no home or money (Deborah has cleaned out their joint account) and Skylar's parents are away on vacation, it looks like they're both stuck in jail for awhile, until Walt's younger daughter Christine suggests that they live together at Skylar's house for the time being. That way, Walt will have a place of residence, and Skylar will have a guardian till his folks get back.

As contrived romantic-comedy situations go, this one is pretty good. Walt undertakes the arduous task of winning his family back while helping Skylar regain his self-confidence and the use of his knee. Skylar's influence shakes Walt out of his old-man funk and restores the youthful zest for life he once had.

It's fun watching the two of them learning to get along and finally becoming unlikely friends as they team up to solve each other's problems. Christine, who was once cruelly stood up for a prom date by Skylar, forgives them both for their transgressions and is on their side. I found myself liking her character most of all, and Brooke Nevin (I'LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER) is a winsome young actress.

Ray Liotta, on the other hand, has always seemed a bit creepy to me, mainly because I've seen him mostly in creepy roles (GOODFELLAS, HANNIBAL). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that, as Walt, he is quite capable of playing an affable, sympathetic character. He's funny, running around in Skylar's old kiddie pajamas and sneaking next door to swipe the business section out of his wife's newspaper, and when he stands in front of her house all night in the rain with a "take me back" sign taped to his shirt, only to have her call the cops on him, you feel for the poor guy.

As his wife Deborah, Glenne Headley (whom you may remember as "Elmira" in LONESOME DOVE) is surprisingly bland. Shaun Sipos does a convincing job as Skylar, at first so callous and full of himself until his injury teaches him humility and he eventually seeks to make amends to the people he's hurt before.

Contrition and forgiveness, you might guess, are the main themes of COMEBACK SEASON. Although it's a safe bet things will turn out all right in the end, it's an enjoyable time getting there and I felt pretty good after it was over. It's all standard and predictable stuff, but it capably fills its niche as a low-key feelgood movie, and sometimes that's all I require to be reasonably entertained for an hour-and-a-half.

Buy it at


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