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Hard Scrambled

USA 2006
produced by
Erik Bauer, James P. Mercurio, Dean L. Morini (executive), Ken Fuchs (executive), Frank Mercurio (executive), Lenore Mercurio (executive) for Creative Screenwriting, Mercurio Morini Films, New Visions Fellowship
directed by David Scott Hay
starring Kurtwood Smith, Richard Edson, Beth Grant, Eyal Podell, Alanna Ubach, Thomas Kopache, David Gianopoulos, Jodi Hettinga, Erik Bauer, Ashli Elizabeth
screenplay by David Scott Hay, based on his play of the same name, music by Ed Goldfarb

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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For 25 years now, Benno (Kurtwood Smith) has been running Alice's Diner, and he's pretty much the heart and soul of the place, also thanks to Alice (Beth Grant) of course, the owner who has always had his back - especially when they hired Scotty (Eyal Podell), a young punk who tried to rob the place but ended up working there instead. But things have changed lately, Alice has burned her hands in a fryer and suddenly wants to sell the place ... of all people to Joe (Richard Edson) the delivery guy, who might be a friend of Benno's, but he's also an idiot. Thing is, Joe wants to make changes regarding the place, and while he's of course right in saying the diner has to be run differently to make a profit, his ideas are stupid, and sit especially unwell with Benno, who's not a man who likes change to begin with. Thank God though that Joe is indeed an idiot, so Benno can trick him out of the already done deal on the diner and make a (much better) counter offer ... but then Alice out of the blue sells the place to a competitor who has of all people hired Scotty as the manager of Alice's Diner - which sits even more unwell with Benno, who always considered himself to be the boy's only mentor, so suddenly seeing him as his superior ... What's worse though is that somebody has stolen the money Benno had gotten together to buy the diner, and it was mob money - and Benno suspects Scotty ... and things can only go downhill from there ...

 

Basically, Hard Scrambled is an actors' movie, it's really brought to life by its performances - which is not to say the writing and direction are bad, quite the contrary, but it's a film tailor-made for its actors to shine ... which they do. Point is, the script is witty enough to bring out the best in the cast, the story is engaging, the dialogue is poignant and the characters are strong, plus the directorial effort is subtle enough to give the cast the room they need ... all of which leads to a really good result!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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