We gave it a C
Like a lot of people, I’m such a fan of Joe Pantoliano’s paint-scraping whine, and of the squirrelly intelligence behind it, that I’m always rooting for him to land a role as plum as he’s had on The Sopranos or in Memento. Second Best isn’t it, even though the film takes off from an intriguing acid spill of an idea. Pantoliano plays a New Jersey suit salesman who thinks he’s the ultimate loser. He flaunts it in a ranting newsletter that reads like nerd Charles Bukowski, and by goading his pals into humiliating him. Second Best might have made a good stage monologue, but as a film it’s overstated and barely baked.