If you focus on the effective casting of John Travolta and Vince Vaughan, Domestic Disturbance may grab your attention as a thriller that hits too close to home. After playing a greasy villain in Swordfish, Travolta ably s... more »erves up the good-guy charm as a divorced father who must rescue his teenage son from a murderous new stepfather, played by Vaughan with bad-tempered relish. Director Harold Becker is worthy of better material (like his earlier hit Sea of Love), but he handles this B-movie potboiler with professional flair, particularly in the setup involving an accomplice (the ever-reliable Steve Buscemi) who threatens to destroy Vaughan's small-town respectability. The plot's about as plausible as Britney Spears in a remake of Sophie's Choice, relying heavily on lame-brained cops and vast chasms in logic, but by the time Travolta and Vaughan engage in their inevitable showdown, even childless viewers may feel a twinge of parental instinct. --Jeff Shannon« less
"John Travolta is convincing as a good father, who is trying to be accepting of his son's new stepfather, Vince Vaughn...and Vaughn is frighteningly real as a sociopath. Steve Buscemi once again does a good job as an individual with questionable character; and Teri Polo continues to raise her acting stock since her star role in "Meet the Parents."The tense moments where Vaughn and Travolta control the action are well-designed. However, these moments seem a bit contrived at times, and complex situations are resolved too easily. A truly good thriller will take the audience through a number of intertwined events that are not easily solved. Much of the storyline in this film is one-dimensional, and great actors also come across as one-dimensional when they have a weak script to work with.Also, this movie clocks in at less than 90 minutes, so character and plot development don't get the fair amount of time they need for a truly strong movie.Still, some good thrills are found in this movie, and it's a good flick for a rainy day when you aren't looking to think too hard about what you are watching. However, spend your hard-earned money on the matinee bargain price."
ash | 11/11/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's a sheer waste of Travolta's talent even though he gave a good performance, the plot is very predictable, repeated and lame. I would rent this movie just for John Travolta's and Vince Vaughn's performances, Steve Buscemi does justice to a creepy character, but movie is no thriller."
Nice in places where it should be naughty.
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 11/28/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Stereotypical characters, convoluted logic, and an abundant absence of intelligence abide in "Domestic Disturbance," a thriller that wants to be naughty, but ends up playing nice. What begins as a somewhat interesting film tailspins into an unending chasm of unbelievable plot twists and aggravating characters who make all the wrong choices. Here is a movie that covers familiar ground, yet it fails to spark much interest once things go awry. John Travolta stars as Frank Morrison, a boat builder whose ex-wife Susan (Teri Polo) is on the brink of remarrying. This, of course, is unacceptable to their 12-year-old son, Danny (Matthew O'Leary), whose outbursts against his parents' divorce have led to being picked up from the police station on numerous occasions. Like any good father, Frank advises Danny to accept that which he cannot change, and to give his new stepfather, the wealthy and popular Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn), a warm welcome. Now anyone who knows their thrillers can guess that if there is money involved, then there's usually a tainted past here and there; this film is no exception. The wedding goes off without a hitch, despite the presence of Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi), a former acquaintance of Rick's who is set on collecting a large sum of money from his old pal. One thing leads to another, contrivances appear, and Rick has a murder on his hands, unaware that Danny witnessed the deed from the backseat of the car in which it occurred. This is the first in a series of several scenes that look promising, but hold little intensity or surprise. Judging from Danny's "Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome, it is easy to foresee that no one will believe him when he reveals what he saw, save for Frank, who must hold a grudge against his son's aggressor if there is to be any action or energy in the story. There's a little bit of cat-and-mouse going on, as Frank searches for the missing Ray and possible clues to take to the police, but it goes virtually nowhere. The movie seems more interested in showing us just how stupid people can be in such situations, however unbelievable they may be. From the start, Susan stands by her man, defending him against Danny's accusations. Does it ever occur to her that when a strange event happens, Rick was out of the house at that same time? Does she ever stop to think about how her disbelief in her son's statements is affecting him, rather than the old song-and-dance about her marriage to Rick? Even the police are completely clueless, ignoring everything until the end when it hardly matters. My big complaint with "Domestic Disturbance" is its editor, who has chopped the movie down to a mere 88 minutes, too short for a thriller and too long for a documentary on vengeful stepfathers. Paramount's advertising campaign for the film hit us with a slew of pre-release television commercials, as well as a lengthy and revealing theatrical trailer. There are scenes in both of these, one of which involves a car chase, the other involving a discussion between Rick and Frank in which Rick tries to buy him off. These and others glimpses are not even included in the final cut, and perhaps may have been more interesting than what we see here. The climax is standard fodder, but it has the ability to generate more intensity than the rest of the film altogether. Travolta turns in a good performance, convincing us of his status as a loving father; Vaughn fails to generate a sense of menace, while Polo does little else except look completely clueless. For all its attributes (which are few), "Domestic Disturbance" adds nothing new to a worn out genre; its lack of lucid plot could be overlooked if not for its failure to generate any level of suspense. 'Note: The film was shot on the eastern coast of North Carolina, in Southport, yet in one scene, Ray mentions his locating Rick was from a childhood memory of Rick's about a family vacation in Maryland. Your thoughts, Mr. McNally?"
Not Very Disturbing, But Entertaining
J. Stillman | 11/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Domestic Disturbance" is an underrated thriller that boasts a frightening performance from Vince Vaughn and good work from John Travolta, playing a nice guy for a change.
Sure, the plot is very predictable all the way to the end, and the fact that we find out early on that Vaughn's character is a baddy takes a lot of the suspense out of the movie. But I was still compelled to watch to see how the good guy would eventually triumph. And Steve Buscemi also is a standout as Vaughn's creepy business partner.
I didn't expect a whole lot out of the film when I first saw it, but I found it an entertaining and satisfying way to kill 90 minutes."
One of the best movies of its type to come along in years
3kingsandaduce | Just off exit 23, I-60 | 02/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really like this movie. Granted, it's a little predictable, and in places maybe Travolta seems a little flat. It has a few other flaws as well. But there are a lot of reasons to like a movie and sometimes you have to make allowences.
What works about it? Matthew O'Leary and Vince Vaughn; the helpless kid & the bad guy. As the movie progresses, the kid gets more and more loveable and the evil dude becomes ever more despicable. Everything you need for this type of movie to be successful; a couple of very good actors in the right roles, convincingly earning, in this case, our sympathy or our bile. Even if the movie holds up in no other way for you, these two actors are sure to do their part. Settings, production, background, or script aside, these two deliver.
Predictable? Somewhat, sure. How many movies aren't? As for Trovolta perhaps being a little off, hey, the man is very busy. Besides, he was supposed to be low-key in this role, the emphasis of the movie being his son's plight. I think ultimately he served that role very well.
So despite its flaws, this movie still works, and I think quite well. If you haven't seen it you should consider doing so."