Cinematic Releases: Kelly & Cal

Juliette Lewis returns in a lead role with this month's release of Kelly & Cal.

"And on guitar.....Mallory Knox!!!"
Freshman feature length director, Jen McGowan, brings us a story about the intersecting lives of Kelly and her teenage neighbor, Cal. It's a resounding little film that brings something new to the screen that lets Juliette Lewis stretch her dramatic legs against a cast of relative newcomers and an aging Cybill Shepherd.

Although Lewis has strayed into big budget territory at times, she has always maintained indie cred with her choices in films. Kelly & Cal is no different. She brings one of her best performances in years to a film that doesn't quite deserve her level of talent and skill. If there is one shining detail about this movie, its her fearless abandon of self as she becomes a former punk rocker turned boring housewife and mother of a relentless screaming baby.

Her teenage counterpart, played by Jonny Weston, tries to hold his own but comes off as a spoiled, sniveling brat hell bent on personal destruction. But, I guess that might be the point. His performance here is solid but seems a bit confused. Cal is meant to be bitter about his handicap. Yet, he comes off as a psychotic drunk, which (at times) makes the movie feel like it may just turn in to some domestic thriller about a wheelchair bound teenager going on a killing spree. Some of his behaviors here are sociopathic, obsessive, and altogether confusing.

"Being an adult is SO miserable.
I could just sit on this porch
and mope for hours."
Kelly & Cal is a strange suburban drama that hits and misses in various spots. At the core, it's a heartfelt dual tiered piece about Kelly's mid-life crisis and a recently handicapped teenager crossing paths. Yet, it struggles to maintain focus and veers off track in the third act, making it feel a little less centered and more melodramatic than it needs to be. As a starring vehicle for Lewis, it serves her indie tendencies. But it falters in its predictable conclusion and fumbles with an unbearable sexual tension between a forty year old woman and this handicapped eighteen year old boy.

If the script had been handled a little bit better, the emotional journey of these two people at differing Kelly & Cal could have been really good. It just struggles to let us know who Cal really is and that's the major downfall here.
junctions in their life could have been really enjoyable. There is a natural chemistry between Lewis and Weston, but it's hampered by a teenage actor that doesn't really know which way to go. With stronger direction and more definition of character,