The uninvitingly titled "Chlorine" is a flat, undercooked suburban comedy. Or is it a drama? Or maybe a kind of satire? Regardless, it's short on style, substance or any clear raison d'être.
Set in a vaguely upscale New England berg called Copper Canyon (but filmed in New Jersey), the story attempts to lay bare the desperate times and desperate measures — relatively speaking, that is — of a circle of locals caught in the orbit of a shady construction deal.
The film's nominal protagonist, beleaguered banker Roger Lent (Vincent D'Onofrio, in a strangely sleepy performance), hatches a dubious get-rich-quick scheme that involves stealing the life savings of the town tennis pro (Rhys Coiro) and investing it in said building project, a luxury housing development. Meanwhile, the machinations of a coke-fueled entrepreneur (Jordan Belfi), a corrupt contractor (Tom Sizemore) and a complicit bank manager (Eddie Guerra) all sketchily factor in.
Then there's Roger's wife (Kyra Sedgwick, adrift in a muddled role of a woman freaking out over middle age), budding adolescent daughter (Flora Cross) and rudderless son (Ryan Donowho), who are all randomly affected by the goings-on. Other tangential characters also float through.
Director Jay Alaimo, who co-wrote the movie's flaccid script with Matthew Fiorello, has said that making "Chlorine" was "the hardest thing" in his entire life, "times eight." Sadly, that pain shows all over this sluggish, visually static effort.
"Chlorine." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood. Also on VOD.
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