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Lonesome Jim

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Director Steve Buscemi (Trees Lounge, Animal Factory) knows from lost souls. His latest sorry specimen, a would-be Ernest Hemingway with the suicidal tendencies but no discernible drive, returns to the nest and meets a nurse with a ”turn a frown upside down” philosophy (the half-charming, half-grating Liv Tyler, who similarly ”saved” Ben Affleck in Jersey Girl). Billed as a comedy, Lonesome Jim does elicit several grins, thanks to sly exchanges between Mary Kay Place’s false-cheery mom and Casey Affleck’s poker-faced son. But watching the film is an exercise in frustration — instead of rooting for Jim to get a life, you just want to smack the gloom right out of him.

EXTRAS A mildly sentimental commentary from Buscemi and screenwriter James C. Strouse, who loosely based the script on his own woebegone days. (Strouse’s parents, bit players in Jim, donated their home and factory as locations after initial financing dried up.) A contrived clipfest disguised as a making-of is the disc’s only other offering.