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Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

4.0 3
Director: Mike Barker

Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Father Terrance Sweeney, Rebecca Klingler


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Absolutely nobody is who he or she seems in this stylish thriller about a guy who wants to get out of his fly-speck hometown, the girlfriend who wants to help him, and the successful friend who just might make it possible. When Bryce (Josh Brolin) returns to his tiny hometown of Tropico, NV, he finds pal Nick (Alessandro Nivola) still living there unhappily. One night


Absolutely nobody is who he or she seems in this stylish thriller about a guy who wants to get out of his fly-speck hometown, the girlfriend who wants to help him, and the successful friend who just might make it possible. When Bryce (Josh Brolin) returns to his tiny hometown of Tropico, NV, he finds pal Nick (Alessandro Nivola) still living there unhappily. One night the pair meets a beautiful blonde at the bar and eventually Bryce takes her back to the house where he's staying. When the girl, Lissa (Reese Witherspoon), reveals that she's under age and threatens to turn Bryce in for statutory rape, he panics, ties her up in the basement, and puts in an anguished call to Nick. Little does Bryce realize, however, that Lissa is actually Nick's very grown-up girlfriend, and that the two lovers have decided Bryce and the ritzy house where he's staying will play a major role in their bid to leave behind dead-end Tropico forever.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
A slick visual sense, tight plotting, clever comic relief, and plenty of post-Tarantino playing around with time distinguish this neo-noir thriller from sophomore director Mike Barker. Writer Ted Griffin knows that double-crosses and unreliable narration are the name of the game in this genre, but he still manages to keep the audience guessing with his labyrinth script. It helps that preppy Josh Brolin makes such a believably slimy bachelor and that Reese Witherspoon's cover-girl features and frosty reserve are so indelible. Dead-end settings, picturesque villains, and graphic violence may be stock devices in the playful end of the noir revival, but the PC button-pushing and gender subtext of Best Laid Plans make for a richer, more nuanced viewing experience than we'd get from a straightforward genre effort of similar quality. Special notice should be paid to the performance of Alessandro Nivola, whose poutily handsome features and barely checked intensity also graced Michael Winterbottom's similarly dark I Want You. Best Laid Plans doesn't live up to the quality of that film, but it does mark Barker and Griffin as filmmakers to watch.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alessandro Nivola Nick
Father Terrance Sweeney Priest
Rebecca Klingler Diner Waitress
Reese Witherspoon Lissa
Josh Brolin Bryce
Kate Hendrickson Bar Waitress
Owen Bush Vagrant
Rocky Carroll Bad Ass Dude
Michael Hagerty Charlie
Jesse Woodrow Roach Coach Clerk
Michael McCleery Recycling Owner
Terrence Howard Jimmy
James Marsh Barry
Sean Nepita Freddie
Gene Wolande Lawyer
Jonathan McMurtry Vet
Jody Wood Bruhfire Cop
Teddy Vincent Lawyer Secretary
José Mendoza Renaldo
Jane Morris Realtor
David Mandel Evangelist
Alec Berg Phone Guy No. 1
Jeff Schaffer Phone Guy No. 2
Craig Armstrong Conductor
Isobel Griffiths Conductor
Cecilia Weston Conductor

Technical Credits
Mike Barker Director
Craig Armstrong Score Composer
Sean Bailey Producer
Phil Bartko Special Effects
Jay Bartus Special Effects
Sophie Becher Production Designer
Betsy Beers Producer
Gina-Raye Carter Stunts
Mali Finn Casting
Nathaniel Goodman Camera Operator
Alan Greenspan Producer
Ted Griffin Screenwriter
Dawna Hammond Special Effects
Stephen Hilton Score Composer
Andy Kennedy Sound Editor
Paul Keogh Score Composer
Sloane Klevin Editor
Randy Krohmer Special Effects
Paul N. Martin Asst. Director
Susan Matheson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jason McDonald Animator
Alistair McLeod Score Composer
Chris Moore Producer
Mike Newell Executive Producer
Nancy Paloian-Breznikar Co-producer
Julian Pinn Consultant/advisor
Ben Seresin Cinematographer
Reinhard Stergar Sound/Sound Designer
Brad Wilder Makeup
John R. Zachary Art Director


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Best Laid Plans 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
goodgirl2 More than 1 year ago
If it has Reese in it then it will be a great movie and I will buy it defentily!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! This movie was so surprisingly good. It had a good plot and many twists. You should rent this movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Screenwriter Ted Griffin ('Ocean's Eleven', 'Matchstick Men', 'Rumor Has It', etc) has provided a story for this little film that is successful on many levels: it is a suspenseful mystery, an intelligent look at the Now Generation's unstable approach to life as hopefully handed to them on their parents' goodwill, a mind twister full of surprises, and most of all a metaphor for where we now stand as a consumer world contained in disposable vials. Working with director Mike Barker's keen sense of timing and comic relief, a fine young cast of notable actors drives this story of desperate turns of fate to an unsuspected ending. The trip is worth your attention. The nowhere/somewhere town setting is Tropico, a dusty boring little place whose reason for existing is a massive recycling plant for discarded containers - just the right setting for a story about little town people who have discarded their dreams. Nick (Alessandro Nivola) works in the recycling plant, basing his hopes for something better on the death of his father and the Will through which he plans to gain a comfortable inheritance. But the Life Insurance policy is negated after an autopsy report reveals a 'preexisting condition' and the remaining assets of his father are owed to the IRS. Nick is broke and in his low state of esteem agrees to be a driver for a drug heist to make enough money to leave boring Tropico. The heist is a bust and Nick is threatened by the owner of the drug stash that he must come up with a large sum of money or else. Nick turns to his girlfriend Lissa (Reese Witherspoon) who also wants to leave Tropico and reluctantly agrees to a complex scam against Nick's old college chum Bryce (Josh Brolin). When that scam falls apart there are even more surprises that keep the story bubbling until the unsuspected conclusion. Nivola is outstanding in this tricky role and Witherspoon and Brolin are convincing. Of note there is a very brief role for newcomer Terrence Howard - the film was made in 1999 before some of these actors gained notoriety in the Oscars. Though not entirely without flaws, this fascinating study of recyclable people enmeshed in their own wayward schemes is an entertaining and stimulating tour de force for all involved. It is well worth a second look! Grady Harp