This adaptation of an early David Mamet play is a diverting, if slight movie that benefits from the intermittent verve of the source material. Actor Joe Mantegna's directorial debut tells the story of Dale Katzman (played by Tony Mamet, David's younger brother), a Harvard graduate student who spends a summer working on a Great Lakes freighter. On board, he encounters a clutch of salty-tongued roughnecks who offer him life lessons, not to mention material for his nascent writing career. Less acid than Mamet's other works, the movie offers an intriguing glimpse at the early stirrings of a career-long preoccupation with machismo (Mamet wrote the play in the early '70s), as well as a poignant evocation of the class divide that no other Mamet work approximates. Though the listless scenario betrays the author's youth, Mamet's gift for stylized gutter dialogue appears to have been intact even back then. Among a crew of great character actors, Robert Forster stands out as a career boat worker who sees in Dale the life he missed.