We gave it a C
Billed as a comedy, Bob Nelson’s latest venture feels more like a drama with a side of Jesus. Eight-year-old Anthony’s mom (Maria Bello) has decided she wants her son to get involved with the church and sets him up for his First Communion and Confirmation. But before he racks up the sacraments, Anthony (Jaeden Lieberher) will spend the weekend with his dad Walt (Clive Owen), a recovering alcoholic who doesn’t exactly preach the word of the Lord.
First stop during the father-son weekend: the local billiards bar, where Walt orders Anthony to stay in the car. The absentee dad doesn’t have much else on the itinerary, though, until he realizes the tools he needs for his upcoming contracting job were stolen. The remaining 80 minutes center on the hunt for the old tool set, which involves a consultation with a methed-out Patton Oswalt, breaking into Walt’s foreclosed house, Walt stealing his ex-wife’s car, and numerous profanity-laced altercations with the locals. The town’s attitude can best be summed up by Vaughn’s (Tim Blake Nelson) reaction to when Anthony pulls a gun on his kid: “How many times do I have to tell you guys that these guns I give you are not play things?” Without any particular investment in finding the tools, which didn’t seem to have any significance before they disappeared, The Confirmation becomes a string of father-son misadventures that lack memorable characters or engaging dialogue.
The tender moments do appear in time to break up the monotonous hijinks, and Anthony — who’s standoffish at first — becomes increasingly likeable, as you can’t help but feel bad for the kid as he watches his dad suffer from alcohol withdrawals. However, the end goal of tracking down the tools persists, leaving viewers wondering why Walt and Anthony couldn’t just stop at Home Depot. C