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Nobel Son

This twisty darkly comedic thriller fails to satisfy

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If it were a late Saturday night, and Randall Miller's thriller about an academic family embroiled in a kidnapping turned up on cable, it might be worth opening another beer for. There are some reliable familiar faces -- Danny DeVito, Mary Steenburgen and Bill Pullman, plus Alan Rickman, hamming up a role almost as dyspeptic as his immortal Snape in the Harry Potter series. There's a crazy, sexy girl (Eliza Dushku), a smidgen of intrigue and the sort of cheap flash -- onscreen titles, whooshy zooms and skittering fast-forwards -- that keeps any couch potato from hitting the remote. But none of these slim charms is enough to compensate for a pair of unengaging male leads (Bryan Greenberg and Shawn Hatosy), and an increasingly unbelievable plot cobbled from "twists" you've likely seen in other films. A dark, jigsaw-like comedy-thriller that runs seamlessly can be fine entertainment. Unfortunately, Nobel Son just keeps tripping over its own fancy feet before falling flat for good.

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