AT MIDDLETON (Adam Rodgers). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (January 31). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Two parent-kid combos - a mother-daughter and father-son - get way more than they bargain for when they head to a small Connecticut town for interviews at Middleton College.
Buttoned-down heart surgeon George (Andy Garcia) is pushing his son Conrad (Spencer Lofranco) to get excited about the school, while free-spirited Edith (Vera Farmiga) can't figure out why Audrey (real-life sister Taissa Farmiga) is considering just this one institution.
Soon George and Edith have broken away from the official tour - leaving the kids to spark an uneasy friendship - and form an unlikely bond that makes them question everything about their comfortable lives.
There are way too many plot holes and improbable events in director and co-writer Adam Rodgers's script. Audrey should have known the key piece of information about the prof she's obsessed with. The likelihood of two parents blowing a joint in a dorm room with some friendly students is nil. And the stakes would be a lot higher if we knew more about these people's lives back home.
But the performances are very engaging - Farmiga is especially winning as the near ditzy dame who tries to pull George out of his shell - and the parent-child tensions feel authentic.
This is an innocuous trifle. Just don't expect the earth to move.