The Daytrippers (1996) / Comedy-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for language and adult situations
Running Time: 87 min.

Cast: Hope Davis, Anne Meara, Liev Schreiber, Parker Posey, Stanley Tucci, Pat McNamara, Campbell Scott
Director: Greg Mottola

Screenplay: Greg Mottola
Review published April 28, 2003

The Daytrippers Hope DavisThe Daytrippers stars Hope Davis (About Schmidt, American Splendor) as Eliza, who one day finds an anonymous letter addressed to her husband (Tucci, Prelude to a Kiss), seemingly romantic in nature. Although her marriage seems to be fine, she consults with her family about what it could be, and they all decide to travel to see hubby at his job in Manhattan and find out straight from the horse's mouth.

If you're the type who likes small, independent films full of colorful characters engaged in extraneous conversations, The Daytrippers may be right up your alley. Written and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) , this ensemble piece straddles the line between comedy and drama, the truthful and the absurd, the important and the banal.

It's sometimes an intellectual endeavor, as the inclusion of nerdy yups like Campbell Scott (Singles) and Liev Schreiber (Party Girl) would lead you to believe, so there's plenty of spirited conversation and pithy dialogue throughout. Some viewers may not have patience with a storyline that meanders for about 80% of the running length, but the ride is interesting enough that most will be willing to go along wherever Mottola chooses to take them for the sake of the funny bits.

It really isn't until the final moments that The Daytrippers makes a lasting impression, with a terrific scene between Davis and Tucci that serves to make the mostly aimless set-up worthwhile. It's not for everyone, but if you prefer characters over plot, there's nothing wrong with taking the scenic route once in a while.

Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo