May 1, 2009 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'Lymelife' -- GRADE: C

'Lymelife' has a case of suburban blahs

Jill Hennessy, left, plays Rory Culkin's mother in "Lymelife," another movie about dysfunctional suburban families. (Screen Media Films)

The dysfunctional suburban family drama has become so ubiquitous that the genre has lost all impact.

Pick a recent decade, mix in lost innocence, personal inadequacies, grim sexual dalliances, money questions and broken marriages, and you've got "that" movie, even if no one really wants to see "that" movie.

"Lymelife" is certainly "that" movie and, as with most dysfunctional suburban family films, it features some fine actors doing good work to no great effect, since the subject matter is so worn.

There's Alec Baldwin, playing Mickey Bartlett, a '70s developer and philandering husband to Brenda (the too-little-seen Jill Hennessy). Together they have sons Jimmy (Kieran Culkin), who has joined the Army just to get away from Dad, and high school wimp Scott (Rory Culkin).

Down the road a ways is poor Charlie Bragg (poor Timothy Hutton) who either has Lyme disease or the Great Suburban Existential Plague. His wife Melissa (Cynthia Nixon) works for and beds Mickey; his daughter Adrianna (Emma Roberts) is Scott's assured friend and sexual ideal.

And so it goes, in ways that anyone who has seen "Imaginary Heroes," "Ordinary People," "The Ice Storm" or countless other films can imagine. A few harmless tokes here, a flurry of wayward punches there, awkward basement commingling, the requisite scenes of inebriation and embarrassment.

"Lymelife" looks as if it were made to be appreciated at film festivals rather than in movie theaters. Which is neither praise nor damnation, just observation. But it sure would have been nice to see the talents involved here putting their energy into something a bit more original. "That" movie is so over.

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