Sunday, July 4, 2010

Once More with Feeling

A Karaoke Affair

By David Luhrssen
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Poker-faced psychiatrist Frank Gregorio (Chazz Palminteri) learns about karaoke during a session with a patient. In the synchronistic string of events to follow, Frank winds up buying a toy karaoke machine for his granddaughter’s birthday and spending an evening with his wife in a karaoke bar. He’s tempted to go onstage. Unlike many microphone jockeys, he can actually sing, and the performances that follow reawaken his long dormant dream of becoming a professional entertainer. Alas, following one’s dream can have unanticipated and unfortunate consequences.

In Once More with Feeling, a 2009 Sundance entry (out on DVD), the karaoke phenomenon is the backdrop to writer Gina O’Brien and director Jeff Linsky’s story of midlife crisis, golden age romance and the temptation of infidelity that rises from a desire to throw away the certainty of routine for a doubtful but thrilling path into the future. The movie’s pace is slack but relieved by droll moments of humor and a strong ensemble cast.

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