The Nines

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Posted September 28, 2007 in Film

"It’s cool, I’m only a cop on TV," breezes Gary (Ryan Reynolds) as he scores crack from a suspicious dealer. From there, the disconnect widens. Sentenced to house arrest for his drug, hooker and arson binge, the actor has only three strangers for company—Robert Downey Jr’s handler Margaret (Melissa McCarthy), a mute girl (Elle Fanning), and a restless trophy mom with jealousy issues (Hope Davis). The first third of John August’s tricky little game plays like an above-par thriller complete with creaky noises and spooky post-it-notes about the number nine. But after Margaret dissolves in a flood of gold light, Gary shifts identities like a drag queen competitor to become Gavin the TV writer and Gabriel the devoted dad. It’s a curious mess that sounds like David Lynch-lite, only with two crucial distinctions: the trilogy of mini-films are lucid and involving, and August bothers to pull his threads together for a silly philosophical climax that actually received backing last week from an Oxford philosopher and the New York Times. McCarthy, Davis, and the latest Fanning bot are quite good at keeping the film grounded and emotionally true, but the real surprise is Reynolds who is clearly grateful to have escaped his own reality of B-list teen comedies for a part that requires him to grow a beard and look serious. (Amy Nicholson)


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