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Why Stop Now

Why Stop Now

Director: Phil Dorling, Ron Nyswaner

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo


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Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan headline Ron Nyswaner and Phil Dorling's quirky comedy about a young piano prodigy who recruits a pair of drug dealers to help his troubled mother get high, thus


Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan headline Ron Nyswaner and Phil Dorling's quirky comedy about a young piano prodigy who recruits a pair of drug dealers to help his troubled mother get high, thus qualifying her for rehab, as he prepares for a crucial audition that could determine his future as a musician.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Comedy and drama prove uneasy bedfellows in Why Stop Now, a succinct independent with a powerhouse cast and just enough emotional resonance to earn a pass. Although an uneven opening act proves a difficult hurdle to clear, co-writers/co-directors Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner get a welcome boost from stars Melissa Leo, Jesse Eisenberg, and a limping Tracy Morgan once the forced quirk takes a backseat to the drama at the center of this gently tragic tale. Piano prodigy Eli Bloom (Eisenberg) has a problem. On the same day he has an audition that could earn him admission into a prominent musical conservatory, he has to get his drug-addicted mother Penny (Leo) into rehab so she can care for his younger sister Nicole (Emma Rayne Lyle) when he leaves for his studies. But when Penny's urine turns up clean during check-in, the staff tell her that insurance won't cover her stay unless drugs are found in her system. Desperate, Eli and Penny go to Penny's dealer Sprinkles (Morgan) so she can get high and earn her stay in rehab. Along the way, things don't quite go as planned, and after severely injuring his hand, accidentally taking a massive dose of Oxycontin, declaring his love for pretty Revolutionary War reenactor Chloe (Sarah Ramos), and trying to convince Nicole to silence the foulmouthed sock puppet that she uses as a buffer to the outside world, Eli must pull off a performance strong enough to earn him a spot at the conservatory and break the cycle of dysfunction that threatens to destroy his family. Initially striking the tone of a darker Little Miss Sunshine clone, Dorling and Nyswaner's seriocomic story feels a bit too self-conscious as the capable cast struggle to inject some lighthearted levity into the mix, and composer Spencer Dave Hutchings reinforces the comedy of this pitiful fiasco rather than the drama. But once the movie becomes less about the absurd situation and more about the character conflicts at its core, things start to come together quite nicely. Those faltering early scenes do possess story elements that are crucial to the effectiveness of the drama, although it's only once they're in the rearview mirror that we can genuinely appreciate what's at stake as Eli puts his own dreams of success on hold in order to care for his family. It's this inherent sweetness that succeeds in pulling Why Stop Now out of the awkward tailspin that opens the film, and, somewhat surprisingly, Morgan helps to take the reins while delivering a poignant speech about his glory days as a championship sprinter. Fans of SNL and 30 Rock are familiar with the comic performer's outrageous persona, but by poignantly conveying his character's tragedy, Morgan successfully turns the tide in favor of drama without throwing viewers for a loop. Meanwhile, Eisenberg serves up a potent blend of frustration, fear, and guarded optimism as the reluctant enabler, and Leo embodies the spirit of an addict whose good intentions can't make up for the compulsive self-destructive streak threatening the future of both of her children. So while Why Stop Now may be a flawed film, the good news is that the actors ensure that it isn't a total misfire. For fans of Eisenberg and Leo, that should come as a relief, but for those partial to Morgan, it's actually something of a revelation.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Ifc Independent Film
Region Code:
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Special Features

Tracy Morgan interview; Featurette; Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jesse Eisenberg Eli Bloom
Melissa Leo Penny Bloom
Tracy Morgan Sprinkles
Emma Rayne Lyle Nicole Bloom
Sarah Ramos Chloe
Isiah Whitlock Black
Stephanie March Trish
Paul Calderon Eduardo
Neal Huff Dave Epstein
Jayce Bartok Nurse Mike
Harper Dill Lucy
Tanya Wright Lisa
Marilyn Berry Charlene
Luna Catarevas Marina
Susan Barnes Jennifer Michaels
Kai Chapman Pat
Stephen Payne Old Junkie
Nicole Quinn Receptionist
Ryan McCarthy British Soldiers
Jay Israelson Band Member #1
Sebastian Blanck Band Member #2
Hannah Cohen Band Member #3

Technical Credits
Phil Dorling Director,Screenwriter
Ron Nyswaner Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Neda Armian Producer
Kerry Barden Casting
Wendy Cox Executive Producer
Claude DalFarra Producer
Brice DalFarra Producer
Suzy Elmiger Editor
Jen Gatien Associate Producer
Peter Graham Executive Producer
Steven Hays Executive Producer
Spencer David Hutchings Score Composer
David Isern Camera Operator
Jay Israelson Score Composer
Ben Kutchins Cinematographer
Susan Lyall Costumes/Costume Designer
Lauren Munsch Producer
Jane Musky Production Designer
Jeremy Newmark Associate Producer
Paul Prokup Producer
Matt Rocker Musical Direction/Supervision
Paul Schnee Casting
Colleen Sharp Editor
Peter Sterling Executive Producer
Atilla Yucer Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Why Stop Now
1. Opening Credits [6:52]
2. Not Hungry [6:46]
3. Checking In [8:25]
4. We Play Music [5:55]
5. The New Guy [8:16]
6. Smell Like Feet [6:02]
7. Different People [6:28]
8. My Trophy [7:19]
9. Let's Dance [9:44]
10. Absolutely Insane [10:15]
11. Too Much Bread [6:33]
12. Ending Credits [5:14]


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