Diminished Capacity

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/03/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Enjoyable, emotionally engaging independent comedy-drama in the Little Miss Sunshine mould, with a strong script and terrific performances from Alan Alda and Matthew Broderick.

What's it all about?
Based on the novel by Sherwood Kiraly, Diminished Capacity stars Matthew Broderick as Cooper, a newspaper editor who's having lapses of memory and concentration after a serious concussion. Encouraged to take a break, Cooper receives a call from his mother and drives to his home town in rural Missouri, in order to spend some time with his Uncle Rollie (Alan Alda), who is suffering from memory and concentration problems of his own.

Cooper quickly discovers that Rollie has financial problems that could result in the loss of his house, but it turns out that his uncle has an extremely valuable baseball card in his possession, so they decide to travel to Chicago in order to sell the card at a memorabilia expo. Meanwhile, Cooper runs into his recently-divorced ex-girlfriend Charlotte (Virginia Madsen), who agrees to drive them to Chicago, along with her young son, Dillon (Jimmy Bennett).

The Good
Matthew Broderick is superb, delivering a likeable performance that anchors the film and ensures that we really root for Cooper. Similarly, Alda is terrific as Rollie, producing moments that are both laugh-out-loud funny (his obsession with a string / typewriter set-up that enables fish to type poetry) and genuinely heartbreaking (the gradual onset of his dementia). In addition, there's strong work from a talented supporting cast that includes Virginia Madsen (who has unexpectedly good chemistry with Broderick), Bobby Cannavale (as an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer) and Dylan Baker, as a baseball superfan who agrees to help sell the card.

The Bad
It's fair to say that Diminished Capacity doesn't stray too far from the usual cliches and the typing fish conceit may be a little too self-consciously quirky for some tastes, but the script is well written and the characters are likeable enough to carry it through.

Worth seeing?
Diminished Capacity is an enjoyable comedy drama with a strong script and great performances from a talented cast.

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Content updated: 19/07/2019 04:28

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