Saturday, June 15, 2024

Have Mercy: Sonny Corleone’s Kid Makes Good


Sonny Corleone’s kid has finally done it: Scott Caan, son of “Godfather” actor James Caan, has made his own movie. And it’s pretty good.

Caan wrote and produced “Mercy,” which closed the GenArt Film Festival last night. IFC will release the film on April 28th, directed by Patrick Hoelke.Troy Garity, Erika Christensen and Wendy Glenn co-star.

What’s interesting about “Mercy” is that it’s a romantic comedy (with a little melodrama) told from the male perspective. Maybe this is a trend. Josh Radnor’s film “happythankyoumoreplease,” which was at Sundance this year, is similar.

“Mercy” is very romantic, and Caan–who couldn’t get released from shooting “Entourage” in L.A. to be at last night’s premiere–makes for a sympathetic hero. It doesn’t hurt that halfway through he adds his dad to the mix. When James Caan appears on the screen, the movie ticks upward immediately. You want to see what he’s going to do about all this mushy love stuff.

Hoelke is an odd duck who dresses a little like Fidel Castro. But he’s smart in keeping the film intimate (not shaky camera, don’t worry). And he gets a great performance out of Garity, who has goofy leading man looks and a great unexpected sense of humor that lightens Caan’s character’s moroseness. (Garity is ready for a breakout lead role in an indie comedy.) There’s also some welcome relief when the going gets tough from John Boyd. And Wendy Glenn is a real find.

Why wasn’t “Mercy” in Sundance or Tribeca? I have no idea. It’s certainly good enough. I haven’t liked an IFC film this much since “Lonesome Jim” or “Me and You and Everyone I Know.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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