Even with Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan's noble efforts, this dark indie comedy fizzles....
MPI / 87 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: December 11, 2012
There is a lot of talent at hand in Why Stop Now (there is no question mark after the title on this Blu-ray Disc's cover, so we won't add one for the sake of this review). We have an Oscar winner (Melissa Leo), a nominee (Jesse Eisenberg), and even a wildcard television talent (Tracy Morgan) who gets to take a swing at playing a bad guy. So, theoretically, even if this indie comedy doesn't always work, it still will have marquee-talent highlights to showcase, right?
Alas, no. From a distance, Why Stop Now has the shape and feel of Little Miss Sunshine as directed by Todd Solondz: Eli (Eisenberg) is desperate to audition for a music conservancy, but before he can do so, he has to admit his user mom (Leo) into rehab, but for slippery insurance reasons, she can't be admitted unless she's actually presently on drugs, so Eli has to grab his little sister and score some horse from his mom's sometimes dealer (Morgan) to get the wheels of this thing fully in motion.
Tying the noble aspirations of suburban life with seedy elements of human vice provides fertile grounds for melodrama, I suppose, but Why Stop Now never infuses its caricature-riddled world with any significant charm or nuance.
The movie crackles along - clocking in at less than ninety minutes, the best thing about it is that it's pretty much over before it starts - but the question that comes to mind as we reach the film's final moments is: So what? Eisenberg and company are clearly up to the task of bringing gravitas and awkward humor to a story like this one, but Why Stop Now never shoehorns its participants' good intentions into an engrossing narrative.