Rental Unit: "Thumbsucker" 

The riskier aspects of taking on a topical subject do occasionally push "Thumbsucker" into areas of camp and twee characterizations. Everyone has noticeable and specific problems, which are sometimes compelling and sometimes painful. Keanu Reeves, trying to instill his action-hero career with some credibility, plays a contrived New Age-y dentist, and Benjamin Bratt shows up in a similarly meaningless role as a television actor struggling with substance abuse. Better serving the underlying question of psychological relativity is Justin's dad, Mike (Vincent D'Onofrio), who tries hard to be a good father but just isn't sure what that's supposed to be. Is anyone?

If "Thumbsucker" has a character flaw, it is its inability to stop being the go-getter version of Justin. The movie in the end aims to please and can't resist pulling back for the big-picture moment. A movie challenging society's perceptions of personality and identity should be a lot more challenging.


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