Left unsaid is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We’re given no reason to believe Dave will prosper in New York, away from his family. The upsides of such a move are strictly financial and professional – areas of life toward which Dave is ambivalent.

The filmmakers should be commended for coming up with a conclusion that, while not reassuring, does not completely sell out the spirit of ennui that pervades the film. Even so, the film’s resolution of Dave’s dilemma rings false, and the lack of progression or redemption for Dave, or anyone else in the story, leaves a void where the film’s heart might otherwise have been.



  • Language/Profanity:  Very raw, very blunt language throughout the film, often in family situations. Dave notes that his use of foul language is a distinctive character trait, and this is played for laughs; Mike admires a counselor who swears frequently.
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Dave expresses suspicions that his son smokes pot; Shelly buys cigarettes with Dave’s money; Dave drinks in a hotel room.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Dave has sex with a woman he meets while doing a personal appearance at a fair; the woman’s breast is displayed; Dave confesses to looking at pornography on his computer; Dave, in voiceover, discusses explicit sex acts he wants to carry out with a woman he sees on a street corner; Mike is wooed by a male counselor, who is later accused of making a sexual advance toward Mike.
  • Violence:  Dave inadvertently breaks his wife’s glasses after a tossed snowball has a more forceful than anticipated impact; Dave physically attacks the counselor alleged to have made a sexual advance toward his son. Dave brags about this incident to his son, who clearly admires his dad’s actions, as does Dave’s father; Dave is struck numerous times by flying objects; Dave uses a pair of gloves to slap another man; Dave aims a bow and arrow toward another character
  • Death and Dying:  Dave’s father is diagnosed with lymphoma and given only months to live. A “living funeral” is arranged and carried out by Dave’s mother.