Grace is Gone

(2007) ** Pg-13
85 min. The Weinstein Company. Director: James C. Strouse. Cast: John Cusack, Shelan O'Keefe, Doug Dearth, Douglas James, Alessandro Nivola.
What might have made a nice short film becomes an annoying feature in James C. Strouse's Grace is Gone. John Cusack plays a war widower too screwed up to break the news of his wife's death in Iraq to his two school-age daughters. Instead, he announces a road trip to the Enchanted Gardens theme park. With the ending inevitable, narrative drive pretty much goes out the window, which makes the film primarily an acting showcase. Unfortunately, Cusack's mannered hangdog performance, while not bad per se, isn't deserving of the attention. The film mostly consists of shots of a sad Cusack sitting around with his confused girls while a repetitive, piano-plunking score by Clint Eastwood plays. Okay, we get it—it's sad. Can we go home now?
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