The Elder Son DVD Review

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In a city best known for full time dedication to pretending you’re somebody else, The Elder Son adds a layer of lively ethnic flavor and sharp wit to a Los Angeles loser underbelly with just that sort of mix ‘n match alternate identity as a real life survival tool, in The Elder Son. Director Marius Balchunas (No Vacancy) also plays around, to less effect, with the competing and also entangling notions of families as born when not made.

Shane West, best known for his stint as physician Ray Barnett on ER, turns up as Bo, a con man doctoring his birth origins this time around, and the title character in question. An incorrigible car thief on the run, Bo and his shady sidekick Skip (Eric Balfour) take cover on an emergency whim at the home of Max (Rade Serbedzija), a struggling single dad and bottom feeder classical musician. After convincing the gullible Russian immigrant that he’s the long lost son the glum guy never knew, Bo turns his bad boy charms on Max’s hottie doubting daughter Lolita (Leelee Sobieski). And she is not about to succumb to his seductive moves, just in case he really does turn out to be her half-brother.

The Elder Son’s slim storyline also has a tendency to be plagued by persistent improbability. But the humorously conflicted sexual chemistry between the frustrated young lovebirds and the affectionate musical vignettes focusing on Russian immigrant cultural life, lift the film into a more energized and spirited realm.

Peace Arch Entertainment

Rated R

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.