Friday, April 26, 2013

Anthony Newman

Colin Firth’s Midlife Crisis Movie

By David Luhrssen
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  With an empty heart and his spirit ebbing away, Wallace Avery is middle-aged and in mid-life crisis. For $3,000 he purchases a new identity, complete with the Social Security number of a recently deceased man called Anthony Newman, and lights off into dreamland. He tells everyone he’s gone camping—a trip from which he plans to never return as he pursues a goal that had always eluded him.

Colin Firth stars in Anthony Newman, the feature debut by director Dante Ariola, and is well cast as a man whose tight cork is verging on a terrible pop. Setting out for adventure in a classic Mercedes convertible, Wallace practices his new identity in the rear view mirror. “Hi, I’m Anthony Newman. How’re you doing?” A pair of random encounters tosses him together with another fugitive from responsibility, albeit a much younger runaway, a woman who calls herself Michaela (Emily Blunt).

They head out together in what has become that most tiresome of American movie genres, the road picture, and their sexual-romantic flings are as inevitable cinematically as they are unlikely emotionally. And yet, there is something interesting at the heart of Anthony Newman as the twosome try on the identities of other couples as they slip into their homes (Michaela is an expert lock pick). Can we escape who we are, the screenplay asks? Aside from pointing out some of the pitfalls of even trying in the Google Age, Anthony Newman quietly insists that even if we can slip into a false identity, maybe we’d be better off facing our challenges head on.

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