Alex of Venice ★★★

Alex and George are a married couple living in Venice, CA with their 10-year old son and her father, who is showing signs of early Alzheimer. Their marriage is on the rocks. She had gone back to school and is now a workaholic lawyer working for an activist environmental firm on a case to save the wetlands from entrepreneur Derek Luke's development. George has been a stay-at-home father; but is chafing from that role and decides to escape to Taos leaving Alex to juggle both family and career. That is the set-up for this complicated family drama which tries to cover a lot of bases...and gets some of the stories right, and misses the mark with others. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and director Chris Messina play Alex and George. I believed their characterizations. Don Johnson, older but still handsome, plays her father...a former TV actor attempting to act in a Chekhov play while struggling to memorize the lines. His character doesn't quite ring true. Director Messina is generally good with actors, and gets the vitality of Venice nicely on film. But the script lacks a unified focus; and for all the truth of the characters, the film never raises above the level of mild interest.