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Belize-set drama 'Inheritance' is long on family dysfunction, short on substance

Belize-set drama 'Inheritance' is long on family dysfunction, short on substance
Jessica Kaye and Daniel Ahearn in the movie "Inheritance." (Breaking Glass Pictures)

There's not enough "there" there in the melodrama "Inheritance," a brief, elliptical journey into catharsis and reconciliation. Laura E. Davis and Jessica Kaye, who co-wrote and directed, compress a lifetime's worth of familial puzzle pieces into a few choppy days of angst and dubious behavior that never quite gels, despite being occasionally intriguing.

Upon returning to her childhood home of Belize, the unstable Mara (Kaye) discovers that her estranged father, a respected doctor, has died suddenly. Her dad's longtime housekeeper, Grace (Myrna Manzanares), and Grace's daughter, Linda (Shamira Gill-Card), try to support Mara but she's too overwhelmed, even with the helpful presence of recovering-addict boyfriend Aaron (Daniel Ahearn).

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Enter Mara's edgy brother, Ben (Mark Webber), who apparently remained in Belize, as did their father, after Mara returned to the U.S. as an adult. Ben's snarky anger toward Mara gives way to a strange, semi-nude, swimming hole incident that raises the red flag of sibling dysfunction.

Mara's later unraveling at her father's wake and a near-threesome between Mara, Aaron and Ben exposes further family trauma, though details are stingily meted out.

Save the non-essential Belize location, there's not a lot new under this particular sun, though a deeper, more dimensional narrative might have better helped us care about these damaged souls.

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena

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