Writer/director Michael Meredith, son of Dallas Cowboy legend “Dandy” Don Meredith, caught the eye of Hollywood in 2002 with his debut film, Three Days of Rain. His newest movie, The Open Road, will probably be missed by many and that’s not a bad thing.
Minor league baseball player Carlton Garrett, played by Justin Timberlake, is going through a slump both on the field and off the field. On the field, Carlton can not get a hit and if things do not change soon, his manager (Ted Danson) is threatening changes.
Off the field, Carlton’s ex-girlfriend Lucy (Kate Mara, Shooter) is considering an important decision that would have a major impact on their relationship. While Carlton and Lucy have remained friends, they both still share unresolved romantic feelings for each other.
One night, Carlton receives a phone call from his grandfather (Harry Dean Staton) that his mother (Mary Steenburgen) has been rushed to the hospital and she is in need of immediate heart surgery. Before Carlton’s mom will agree to have the surgery, she wants to see her ex-husband, Carlton’s father, former baseball great Kyle “Lonestar” Garrett (Jeff Bridges).
Kyle and Carlton have never had a close father-son relationship. Kyle has always put his own needs and wants ahead of anybody else. Kyle tells Carlton that he has always loved him and his mother, but he loves himself more.
When Kyle “looses” his wallet at the airport, there is only one option left, drive from Ohio to Texas. The ensuing road trip gives Carlton and Kyle a chance to reconcile but they will face many peaks and valleys and pot holes along the way and I’m not talking about the scenery or the road either.
The story written by Meredith is very predictable which results in a very dull movie. The characters are flat and lifeless. This predictability combined with uninteresting characters does not create any suspense about what the final outcomes will be to this adventure. You will not care about anyone or anything in this movie.
As a director, Meredith also fails to pull out a decent performance from Timberlake. Advice to Justin: stick with comedy and leave the dramatic acting to the professionals like Jeff Bridges.
Bridges gives a steady performance as the heavy drinking, slick talking former big leaguer. Kyle is more interested in trying to relive his past glory than he is about the present.
Kate Mara does her best with the material Meredith gives her, but the best she can do with it is to hit into a fielder’s choice.
With a homerun actor like Jeff Bridges and a strong supporting cast (Danson, Staton, Steenburgen), Michael Meredith strikes out in his attempt to make a compelling movie.
The Open Road is now available on DVD. Click on the movie screen below to views its trailer.