A Hallmark Spank Fantasy 

Welcome to the Rileys' Halfhearted Grittiness

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS Man, Edward Cullen really let himself go.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS Man, Edward Cullen really let himself go.

DOUG RILEY (James Gandolfini) has a troubled marriage, to say the least: His wife Lois (Melissa Leo) is nearly catatonic, having not left the house since their daughter died in a car crash. So Doug chain smokes, plays poker once a week, and sleeps with a waitress. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for him, but as a surprisingly unlikeable Gandolfini plays him, he just seems like a fat, wheezing, cigarette-stinking pig who cheats on his wife.

On a business trip to New Orleans, Doug ducks into a strip bar, and through a series of unbelievable events, goes home with an underage stripper/hooker named Mallory (Kristen Stewart). He doesn't sleep with her! No, no, Doug would never do a thing like that. You see, what the filmmakers of Welcome to the Rileys want you to believe is that Doug isn't looking for underage poontang; rather, he needs to find a replacement for his dead daughter.

Poor Kristen Stewart: While she's largely been squandered in the Twilight movies, she has the ability to be so good (Adventureland, The Runaways). But Mallory is scripted to be a one-dimensional spank fantasy, a poor little runaway turning tricks in the mean city with no big man to look after her. The character has no grounding in reality—she's a teen prostitute who doesn't even have a pimp, which feels like total bullshit.

It gets worse: Lois, miraculously, leaves the house and drives down to New Orleans, where she happily joins this weird little family. The scene where she gets mad at her husband for shacking up with a teen prostitute is, like, 30 seconds long, and then she's over it. Welcome to the Rileys wants to be hard and gritty, but it has all the dramatic complexity of a Hallmark card.

Welcome to the Rileys
Rated R · 110 min. · 2010
Official Site: www.welcometotherileys-movie.com
Director: Jake Scott
Writer: Ken Hixon
Producer: Michael Costigan, Giovanni Agnelli and Scott Bloom
Cast: James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, Kristen Stewart, Lance E. Nichols, David Jensen, Kathy Lamkin, Michael Wozniak, Sharon Landry and Russell Steinberg

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