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Review: Rhys Ifans keeps it real and lightweight ‘Len and Company’

“Len and Company”
Rhys Ifans stars in “Len and Company.”
(Patricia Seaton / IFC Films)

With his floppy, sloppy look, hangdog sneer and real-life musical background, Rhys Ifans was born to play onetime punk rocker Len Black in the engaging dramedy “Len and Company.” Unfortunately, the actor feels more authentic than his character, given a script (by director Tim Godsall and Katharine Knight, based on the play by Carly Mensch) that’s often light on details and depth.

Len, now a record producer, is holing away at his upstate New York home following an awards show meltdown. The surly Brit’s respite, which consists of watching old DVDs and floating in an algae-choked swimming pool, is broken by the arrival of estranged son Max (Jack Kilmer), a sweet-souled college dropout and budding musician. Len acts miserably toward Max, who hangs in to fulfill a secret agenda.

Young pop star Zoe (Juno Temple) also descends upon Len’s lair to see what’s up with her elusive producer and mentor. As much as she may shake up the dynamics here, the troubled Zoe feels more tacked on than essential. 

That Len eventually softens and comes to better terms with Max — as well as with a kindly neighbor kid (Keir Gilchrist) — prove welcome if inevitable turns. Thanks to Ifans, though, this remains a watchable film, one that, perhaps like Len himself, falls short of its potential.    

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‘Len and Company’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

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Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica


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