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Movie Review: Take Me Home

Films opening this weekend:
Friends with Kids - Eastern Hills Dipson; Quaker Regal - REVIEW
John Carter - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; McKinley Mall Dipson; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood Regals; Flix
Pina - Amherst Dipson
Silent House - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood, Quaker Regals; Flix
Take Me Home - The Screening Room
A Thousand Words - Maple Ridge; Market Arcade; Elmwood, Transit, Galleria, Hollywood, Quaker Regals; Flix
The Viral Factor - Maple Ridge

A road movie that surprisingly doesn't fall prey to the easy tropes of its brethren, Take Me Home uses the American landscape as a backdrop to its journey through the tumultuous expanse of two lost souls. States fly by in seconds without a mention, just glimpses outside the windows of the illegally operated taxicab taking our leads from New York City to Encinitas, California. Where most would bask in the ability to montage famous sites, writer/director/star Sam Jaeger only sprinkles in the Chrysler Building, St. Louis Gateway Arch, and Grand Canyon while instead focusing on the troubled thirty-somethings unaware of what the future may bring.

An out-of-work photographer impersonating a cab driver with a vehicle he won at auction, Thom (Jaeger) has hit rock bottom. He trolls the airport for any unsuspecting travelers, and It's no surprise when Claire (Jaeger's real life wife, Amber Jaeger) pulls open the door and plops down with only the word, "Drive." Stuck with a possible cheating husband (Brennan Elliott's Eric) at home and an estranged father on the west coast, her emotions pour out in the back seat. And so it is a match made in snarky heaven. A deal is struck and they depart for a cross-country voyage. It's in their exchanges en route where Take Me Home truly shines.

Well-known to anyone who watches the wonderful "Parenthood," Sam Jaeger is an actor with a uniquely nuanced charisma. Wasted in the show's first season, his Joel has really come into his own the past two years, making him one of the more complicated and interesting of the bunch. Those traits exist here as well in both performance and screenplay. He has created an indie film that seems very close to its creator's heart. Sam is the better actor, but I believe the strength of the work helps compensate for what's lacking in his costar's performance. By no means bad, Amber Jaeger simply seems as though she is "acting" when left to her own devices.

The small supporting cast succeeds along with its lead: Cristine Rose and Victor Garber as Thom's mother and father, Lin Shaye as Claire's mom, Michelle Krusiec as Claire's assistant. Thanks to this cast, and most of all, to Jaeger, Take Me Home becomes the kind of romantic comedy that allows its obvious roads to appear natural rather than inevitable. The chemistry between its leads goes a long in this sweet little gem of a movie.

Take Me Home 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

[1] Thom (Sam Jaeger) and Claire (Amber Jaeger)
[2] Claire (Amber Jaeger)

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