(Drama) David Schwimmer stars as Duane, a down-on-his-luck divorced father who works the night shift as a pit boss at Caesars Palace in Atlantic City. Heartsick about the demise of his marriage to Linda (Janeane Garofalo),... more » he does nothing but work and drink. When his visitation rights are threatened after he's caught driving while intoxicated with his daughter in the backseat, Duane decides that the time has come to get his life back on track before he loses everything. DUANE HOPWOOD is a moving and humorous look at the limits of unconditional love, what defines a family, and how we're all responsible for our own happiness.DVD Features:
"While I watched this film, it was schizophernic. There were some good dramatic moments, balanced with ridiculously cute montages, badly written supporting characters, and inane dialogue. David Schwimmer is pretty good as the title character. I never watched Friends on a regular basis, so I don't think of Ross like other people might when they see him. He's not a total disaster in this dramatic role, but he doesn't give an Oscar worthy performance. The character of Duane's ex-wife (nicely played by Janeane Garofalo, who does the best she can with her underwritten role) is a good example of what's wrong with the film. At the beginning, she is adamant about her anger and her decision to divorce him. At the end of the film, she's forgiving of him, and they part friends, despite the fact that she is moving to South Carolina with their kids and her new boyfriend. That type of logic plays more like a sitcom than it does a film that supposed to be a realistic depiction of alcoholism. The filmmakers never really give us a clear reason as to why Duane started drinking. He's still in love with his (now) ex-wife, he loves his kids, and he likes his job. Duane mentions his parents with affection, so he wasn't abused as a child. But he drinks nevertheless. There is also awkward comic relief (provided by Duane's roomate, an aspiring standup comic) that really illustrates the two faces of this film. Duane's relationship with a sympathetic bartender seems tacked on. There is an excellent scene where Duane has a breakdown in a casino, but it's nearly ruined by the standup comic's constant yammering throughout it. Overall, it's watchable, but it's not sure what kind of film it really wants to be..."
Just Doesn't Work
Bad Johnny | Los Angeles, CA | 06/03/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Expecting to completely enjoy this movie based on some nice things I had heard, I was stunned by my negative reaction. Wow! This movie wants you to care about alcoholic loser Duane and the serious problems that he faces one minute. The next, it wants you to laugh at weird and completely unrealistic characters and situations. Sometimes it tries for subtle realism, sometimes for the absurd. It just doesn't work. If you think child endangerment is funny, this might be the movie for you. But there was no payoff for me. Every time I was tempted to care, the movie then played a comedy bit to throw things off course again."
Not very believable or interesting
Office Lover | Scranton,PA | 12/27/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to see this film as a fan of John Krazinski, and he's good. Unfortunately, he's not in it enough. The rest of the movie is an alcoholism story, one that is not particularly new or compelling or believable. Schwimmer has a few good moments, but too much time is spent on crazy subplots and unnecessarily eccentric characters."
Divorce, Addiction, and Other Obstacles in the Path to Happi
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Matt Mulhern is an actor turned writer/director in this amazingly fine first feature film. If DUANE HOPWOOD is any indication of the storehouse of creative and gently profound films housed in Mulhern's mind, we have a major artist being birthed.
Duane Hopwood (David Schwimmer) is a loser: despite the fact that he is one of the most loving beings around, he is plagued by the realities of life - working a testy night job as a pit boss in Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City, failing to be present for a wife and two girls he loves but neglects due to his working hours and that has resulted in divorce, alcoholism, and failure to repair - he just can't make his life work. After a DUI arrest in which Duane has inadvertently jeopardized the life of one of his passenger daughters, is ex-wife Linda (Janeane Garofalo) is driven to prevent visitation rights to a man she recognizes is in truth a loving father who simply can't cope. Duane lives alone until his casino friend Anthony (Judah Friedlander), a would be stand up comic, asks to share Duane's home. Duane's bad luck follows him even when he is trying to give despicable people a fair break at the casino and hence loses his job. He attempts to date a kind Irish bartender Gina (Susan Lynch) but fails that role when he confesses that he still loves his wife. The ultimate blow comes when Linda and her new boyfriend Bob (John Krasinski) decide to move to North Carolina, a fact that means Duane will rarely see his beloved daughters. And his life continues to pall-mall despite all the loving hands offered by the good people around him.
The story has no beginning and no end. It is a slice of life about an Everyman wracked by bad decisions, good at heart but unable to control his propensities, and the effects of addiction, divorce, and loneliness on a kind but bumbling soul. David Schwimmer gives a deeply moving performance, one that is so sensitively rendered that it holds mirrors to us all, making us love him as much as the people around him who stand by helplessly by as he spirals down the hole of self-destructive behavior. Janeane Garofalo likewise steps out of her usual silly chubby mouthy roles and gives us an injured but wholly understandable bruised woman: her acting is the finest she has ever given us. The entire cast (with some surprise appearances by some fine actors) is top notch, but in the end the kudos go to Matt Mulhern for offering us one of the best examinations of divorce and modern marriage with an eye that clearly sees both sides of trauma. This is an underrated, superb film that deserves a wide audience. Grady Harp, April 06"
From Kramer to Hopwood
Leung Tse Choi | 04/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every five modern drama made in the last three decades at least one was about divorced family or in some way involve the divorcee and their children. It took Hollywood cinema that long to come to terms with this social phenomenon. David Schwimmer (as Duane Hopwood) is struggling to reverse the denial of his visiting right to his children after he was caught drunk-and-drive while his daughter was in his car in the beginning of `Duane Hopwood' (2005).
The film is brief and precise in portraying Schwimmer, as a loving husband and father of two but needed to go to work in a casino at odd hours and as a result too tired to attend to his daughters and wife, within the first few minutes through a series of speechless montage. Even we are under the impression Duane has drinking problem, throughout the film this problem and his behavior disorder are never revealed in depth. Neither the cause of his dismissal from the job or his hostility toward his ex-wife's boyfriend is due to his drinking problem. Even his wife, who filed the denial of his visiting right to the children and finally decided to take the children away to another town, is not portrayed as cruel and unreasonable but rather sympathetic on the contrary.
Unlike many films before starting `Kramer vs. Kramer' (1979), it is obvious that this film does not make anyone or any societal situation as an escapegoat to the cause of the divorce and its unfortunate result. Many others till this day, like `The Squid and the Whale' (2005) and `The Weather Man' (2005), still tries to find the cause of the tragedy of divorce family in one of its characters' personality deficiency. And their efforts will never present us a satisfactory remedy. "I don't know whether I drink so my wife left me or my wife left me so that I drink," said Nicolas Cage in his reply to Elisabeth Shue about his situation in the beginning of `Leaving Las Vegas' (1995). `Duane Hopwood' is a milestone of Hollywood family drama for it's portraying of modern divorced family and the remedy it provides. "