Lightbulb: 2 of 5 stars

Sentinel Staff Writer

Dallas Roberts -- you’ll recognize the face if not the name. He was Sam Phillips in Walk the Line and the reward-offering railroad man Butterfield in 3:10 to Yuma. He doesn’t get to be the leading man, doesn’t get the girl.

But Lightbulb gives him the chance to try both as he plays Matt, a sideburned “novelty items” hustler who hopes that someday his “big idea” comes around, just the way it did for the fellow who invented the lightbulb.

“It’s like Thomas Edison said, ‘To have a great idea, you have to have a lot of them.’ ”

Sam (Jeremy Renner) is his loose-cannon sales chief, the guy who tries to peddle novelty watches on convenience store managers.

And Ayelet Zurer is Gina, the flight attendant who should be out of his league, but who keeps waiting for Matt’s latest inspiration to pay off. If only Sam didn’t drag Matt to the gaming tables or the track every time they need to pad their start-up money account.

Mike Cram scripted this and Jeff Balsmeyer directed it, and despite the unusual Tucson setting and the easygoing charm of the players, they do nothing to distinguish their inspiration from a hundred other charming hustler-losers who came before.

Screening at: 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 29, Regal; 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, Enzian.