For a couple months now, I've been subjected to the tremendously melodramatic trailer for "Brothers." When I was home in Texas, trying to enjoy an art-house film at the Angelika, so I could keep my nose up in the air when strangers passed me -- of course -- I'd be sent some unwanted goosebumps while previews ran.
Jake Gyllenhaal, with those man-whiskers.
Tobey Maguire, his hair shorn and about 40 lbs. lighter than anyone should ever care to see him at.
Natalie Portman, looking more like a lady than she has in the past -- this time, caught in the cross-hairs of two brothers that both love her; one's a vet, who's meant to be dead (Maguire), the other's a ruffian who's recently been let out of the clink and who's surprisingly fatherly (Gyllenhaal).
The film's a remake of a Danish movie called "Brodre." Tobey's a soldier who gets sent off to Afghanistan, leaving his three ladies back home (two daughters, and Ms. Portman). Everyone thinks he's dead early on, while Gyllenhaal gets released from prison, starts to take care of the family -- then, bam, Tobey's back home again.
It's a good movie; sure, it's insanely melodramatic at times (Tobey's made to take a crobar around his newly-done kitchen ... and he's got to say the F-word a couple times when accusing his wife of sleeping with his brother -- when he's thought to have been dead.), but it was enjoyable.
I was a little shocked that they got all three of these Young Hollywooders to play their parts, given the material and the cliched subject. But, it all worked out well enough.
It didn't help that I'd had my heart broken a couple hours earlier in "Up in the Air," but I didn't let too many tears leak out.
2 1/2 stars.