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Review: The Details

By PETER KEOUGH  |  November 1, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

God is not in these details. Jacob Aaron Estes's black comedy gets so dark that it's not even funny. It explores the possibility that human beings are depraved and irredeemable and does so without retreating, Hangover-style, into sentimentality and scatological humor. Dr. Jeffrey Lang (Tobey Maguire) and his wife Nealy (Elizabeth Banks) celebrate their 10th anniversary, and Jeffrey marks the occasion by resodding the yard. But then the raccoons arrive, drawn by the worms in the new turf. They dig up the lawn, and nothing will drive them away because, presumably, they are symbols of Jeffrey's repressed desires. So Jeffrey has sex with his best friend's wife, poisons the beloved cat of his dotty neighbor Lila (Laura Linney, outstanding in a dicey role), and then has sex with Lila, too. And that, as Jeffrey says later, is the good news. Who cares? Estes and his cast do, and they forego cheap laughs to find the pathos beneath.

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