ALPHA DOG (Nick Cassavetes, 2006)

Superficial though (for some of its protracted length) entertaining juvenile melodrama about the Jesse James Hollywood mess in California that led to the kidnapping and murder of the 15-year-old brother of a punk who owed Hollywood, a drug dealer, money. For legal reasons, all the names have been changed, with Hollywood, for example, now being called Johnny Truelove, and his eventual capture taking place in Paraguay instead of Brazil.
     Writer-director Nick Cassavetes, son of you-know-who and you-know-who-else, creates gorgeous compositions but has only a half-hearted cautionary tale in mind. This is an unnecessary movie.
     That said, two of the performances rock: as the brothers Markowitz, now called Mazursky, Ben Foster and Anton Yelchin. Emile Hirsch, a Leonardo DiCaprio-lookalike, is a middling Truelove, while two other actors are perfectly dreadful: Justin Timberlake as one of the kidnappers (Timberlake does everything too selfconsciously, at too slow a pace) and Sharon Stone, who is in her full-throttle Joan Crawford-mode as the too-doting mother of the kidnapped boy.

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