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Review: Domestic Disturbance

Harold Becker’s easily digestible fil may be too efficient for its own good.

2.5
Domestic Disturbance
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Harold Becker’s easily digestible Domestic Disturbance may be too efficient for its own good. Busybody boat-builder Frank (John Travolta) is all peaches and cream, advising his son Danny (Matthew O’Leary) to put a lid on the post-divorce trauma and chum up to Mom’s new squeeze, upstanding citizen Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn). Whore-loving Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi) waltzes into town wanting to settle old debts only to get incinerated by a snarling Rick. Danny is a witness though his wolf-crier reputation gets him nowhere at the local police station. Vaughn devilishly chomps on the film’s scenery, going postal during a game of catch while expertly slithering in and out of Danny’s bedroom once the boy is on to the dirty stepfather’s past. Domestic Disturbance is conventional to a fault. The story is smooth but it’s not unlike something you’d find inside a grade school mystery book. Dad plays the amateur sleuth, Mom comes around and domestic bliss is reclaimed. There’s a remarkable lack of hysterics here. Becker’s delicate camerawork evokes the pervasiveness of Frank’s malice. Sans hamfisted sound cues, the film’s boos are genuinely potent. You might forget Domestic Disturbance ever existed, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts.

Cast: John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo, Matthew O'Leary, Steve Buscemi, Chris Ellis, Nick Loren Director: Harold Becker Screenwriter: Lewis Colick Distributor: Paramount Pictures Running Time: 89 min Rating: PG-13 Year: 2001 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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