Yonkers Joe

Posted by schnolis on February 12th, 2009 filed in Reviews

YONKERS_JOEYonkers Joe is a con man. He’s they guy who’s always one step ahead of everyone else, trying to find and exploit the obscure possibility that nobody else has even considered yet. But he’s getting old, and hasn’t hit his big break yet. It’s a fairly common story, but to this we add a little more humanizing back story. Joe’s son, Joe Jr., has Down Syndrome. Further, he’s outgrowing his own special needs home. Yonkers Joe is forced to take care of him on his own for a while until they can all agree on the next place for Joe Jr. Eventually Yonkers Joe conceives of a out a plan. While I’m not going to spoil anything here, it’s about what you’d expect. Except, of course, for the family drama, which gets pretty intense.

Yonkers Joe’s girlfriend is the x-factor that makes this movie watchable. Yes, Chazz Palminteri is a fine actor. Still, he comes off as the square peg in the round hole. He appears too old; he’s neither coordinated enough to handle the action of the movie nor passionate enough in this role to really give the delicate touch his character needed.

What I liked: Christine Lahti as Yonker’s Joe’s girlfriend. Her scenes were really spot on. While I admit she had an easier role, it was performed admirably. Tom Guiry as Joe Jr. was pretty good, too. It was a nice synthesis of two kinds of stories, too. Michael Rispoli had a pretty good turn in the movie, too.

What I disliked: Chazz Palminteri in this role. Some gratuitous character decisions make the movie play out in a jerky way. The ending was far too happy in this film. From a consistency standpoint the tone of the rest of the film didn’t indicate a happy ending like this.

Rating: 7 of 10

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