106 minutes| U.S.A.| 2011| Colour| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

After the splendid The Station Agent and The Visitor, writer-director Tom McCarthy makes it three warm and witty triumphs in a row with this honey of a comedy-drama about life-changing decisions facing a small-town lawyer. Paul Giamatti is, needless to say, grouchy and sympathetic as the New Jersey solicitor whose fading business prospects make him sign up as legal guardian for a dementia-stricken client (Burt Young, the corner man from Rocky, no less), which bends the rules but will net him a much-needed retainer. Enter the old man’s troubled teenage grandson (Alex Shaffer), a junior wrestling champ who’ll fit right into the struggling high-school grapple team Giamatti coaches. A ‘win-win’ situation then? Well, not exactly, but that’s the delight of McCarthy’s deftly assembled saga of misplaced male pride and slipshod domestic priorities. And with pals like Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor on hand for wise-cracking advice, Giamatti’s travails are not only touching, but highly amusing. The film’s an absolute treat. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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