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Road trip movies are among the oldest indie film clichés in the book, and often one of the lamest, especially when they involve estranged relatives healing their differences. To the credit of “Boundaries,” Shana Feste’s comedy about single mom Laura (Vera Farming) hauling her pot-dealing dad Jack (Christopher Plummer) across California, these familiar beats have a ring of maturity that elevates the stale material. While it never quite shakes the deja vu, a set of sharp performances and insightful character details elevate the material above low expectations.
As “Boundaries” begin, Laura’s problems have nothing to do with her deadbeat dad. Her cramped Seattle home is overrun with abandoned animals she can’t stop taking in, nabbing every stray that falls into her sight (in the first scene, she sneaks a kitten into her bag before visiting her therapist). Her teen son Henry (Lewis MacDougall, in a smarmy shift from his “A Monster Calls” performance) struggles from bullying at a local high school, and while her mom wants to send him to a private art school instead, she lacks the funds.
Enter - Jack - Nursing - Home - State
Enter Jack, who has been kicked out of his nursing home across the state for his drug-dealing antics and begs Laura to get him out of there. It’s instantly clear that Plummer’s foul-mouthed troublemaker will provide the movie with its key to elevating the basic formula. “You geriatric sons of ****,” he growls at the nursing home’s board with a half-smirk, and he’s just getting started.
Jack makes a deal: Help him leave the nursing home and he’ll give her the money to pay for Henry’s education. Once they arrive, however, the situation grows more complicated. He wants to drive, he says, because he’s dying; privately to Henry, however, he says it’s because he needs to transport loads of marijuana in the trunk. So...
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