by Laura Tucker
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Really most of Open Road boils down to one thing, the different paths people take in life. Harry Dean Stanton as the grandfather says it very eloquently, “Life is about screwing things up.” Isn’t that the truth? It’s not about living your life the right way; it’s about making mistakes and learning from them. The movie’s star, Justin Timberlake started out being known for being in a boy band and for dating Britney Spears, and while she’s gone on to more celebrity-type fame, he’s gone on to become a solo artist and be wildly funny on Saturday Night Live. He’s also beginning to etch a name for himself as a dramatic actor.
Timberlake stars as Carlton Bennett, the son of famous pro baseball player Kyle Garrett (Jeff Bridges). His mom, Katherine (Steenburgen), is hospitalized and finds she’ll need surgery to save her life. She refuses to go through with the procedure until she sees Kyle, and sends Carlton on a mission to find him. It appears that Katherine and Kyle haven’t been together in quite a long time.
Carlton wants some support on this mission, so asks Lucy (Kate Mara), his ex-girlfriend, to go with him. They track Kyle down at a fan convention and find him in an autograph session. Kyle doesn’t appear very happy to see his son and in fact announces to the others around him that he’s a “friend.” it has to be a bitter pill for Carlton to swallow, as he’s a minor league baseball player, making it seem like he’s been trying for most of his life to impress his dad, with no success. Carlton knows he’ll never get his dad to leave willingly with him, so fudges the truth slightly, saying that Katherine is dying.
Kyle explains he didn’t bring his wallet on the trip, so the three are forced to rent a car and drive back home, making it a road trip with three people all very uncomfortable with each other. More to the point, these are all people who hurt the others and blame each other. Carlton and Kyle argue over whose fault it is that they fell out of touch. Kate admits a new boyfriend has asked her to marry him. It was Carlton that broke it off with her when he wanted to devote more time to his baseball career. He obviously made a mistake.
Again, that’s what life and this movie comes down to - screwing things up. At a certain point, though, it doesn’t really matter who’s at fault. It just matters that it’s broken and needs to be fixed. Life isn’t about living life perfectly; it’s about screwing up and fixing it afterward. Just like this movie.
Open Road is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 17.
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