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Maze

Starring Rob Morrow and Laura Linney; Craig Sheffer
Written by Rob Morrow and Bradley White;
story by Bradley White and Rob Morrow
Directed by Rob Morrow
no website

IN SHORT: For the Arthouse. [Rated R for language and nudity. 98 minutes]

In a business that is as difficult as showbiz is, sometimes, as far as acting folk go, you have to make your own work. As we've written before, sometimes when an actor takes on writing and directing responsibilities, things fall through the cracks. In the case of Rob Morrow's Maze, those cracks are very small. The overall piece is more a two actor character study than anything else and would have been fit for the stage. But Morrow made a movie and the movie he made feels like forever to play out. It doesn't matter how fine the performances are, and they are, forever is forever.

Lyle Maze (Morrow) is an artist who happens to be afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome. Not the variation which causes unstoppable cussing, but one which makes his body jerk and twitch uncontrollably. Most of the time, if there is any kind of liquid in the vicinity, things (or people) are gonna get drenched. Maze has two friends, Callie (Laura Linney) and Mike (Craig Sheffer). The pair have been together four years. He is a doctor more concerned with the state of health care in the third world than with his relationship. Thus, he's going to spend the next seven months in Burundi. She is pregnant. Maze, knowing both ends, is definitely stuck in the middle. He tells Callie to spill but doesn't try to stop Mike (ie. Maze won't reveal Callie's "secret"). Mike, self-absorbed nudnik that he is, makes the decision to head overseas without even hearing Callie's news; he's not even considered that the woman could have any input worth evaluating.

Dontcha just love guys who can't see the forest for the trees? It doesn't take much to figure out where this story is going to go. One soon to be single mom. One out of circulation male with an obsessive-compulsive personality on top of his medical ailment. Sure, Callie tries to fix Lyle up with the more than attractive Julianne (Gia Carides) but Lyle's problems get worse when he gets nervous and Julianne is more than enough woman to give him more than the shivers.

Credit Morrow and co-writer Bradley White with doing their damnedest to keep Maze from following the obvious course, even though it eventually must. The pair have written the movie as a slice-of-life piece, with almost no character background laid out, other than what is revealed in the course of ordinary dialog. If you don't pay extremely close attention, and let the back of your brain do the work to develop character motivation and history, you'll miss everything. As far as Maze goes, crucial information is buried in lines of dialog that pass so quickly that sitting through the film can begin to feel as frustrating as trying to negotiate the a real life maze. As simple a set of stories as it is, too much time is spent on developing the relationship and too little is spent on the Third Act Inevitable Confrontation. . If you haven't bought in hook line and sinker, Maze feels at least twice its running time.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Maze, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

rent to watch the acting. That's a terrible thing to say to any actor but in this case the performances, especially Linney's, are the only thing to watch in a story that is too thin.

amazon com link Click to buy films starring Rob Morrow
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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.