Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences Tint/[Black] 25%25ATint/[Black] 25%25

Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

Tint/[Black] 25%25ATint/[Black] 25%25 A cliche, once struck, can never be unrung. Expanding his Oscar-winning 2012 short Curfew, Shawn Christensen again plays Richie, interrupted from his suicide bath by an unexpected phone call. It’s his single-parent sister Maggie (Emmy Rossum, recently seen in Comet), from whom he’s been estranged for years. She needs an emergency babysitter—the reason to be divulged later—for her precocious 11-year-old daughter Sophia (Fatima Ptacek, the current voice of Dora the Explorer, reprising her role from the short film). Should he stay or should he go? This random, life-affirming decision determines the next 24 hours in a New York demimonde, no matter how many madcap misadventures the script tosses in the way.

Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

Tint/[Black] 25%25A We gather how petulant Richie is a not-quite-recovering addict with a wavering death wish. He’s caught in a beef between two thuggish club owners (Ron Perlman and Paul Wesley) about a dead girl, victim of a heroin OD, whose corpse he inconveniently discovered. Meanwhile bossy little Sophia is demanding dinner, quiet time to study, and the r provide it he must, and will, because he answered esponsible uncle behavior that Richie is entirely unprepared to provide. Yet provide it he must, and will, because he answered that fateful phone call—no matter the blood dripping from his hastily bandaged wrists.

Whatever the plot implausibilities here, chem

Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

Tint/[Black] 25%25A istry is what matters between Richie and Sophia. They have it in quieter moments, as when the two lay low in a bowling alley—then along comes some new histrionic scene or baroque filmmaking flourish to spoil the charm. In padding his tale, Christensen provides ample scenery for the chewing by Perlman and Wesley (the latter doing his best Ray Liotta impersonation); and he’s no less indulgent in making Richie the sort of verbose martyr to whom we’d gladly lend sharper razor blades and a vascular anatomy book. Rossum doesn’t fare much better with Maggie, written as a volatile, self-destructive yuppie because—well, because Richie somehow needs to prove himself a responsible brother and uncle.

Sophie’s never truly endangered during Richie’s generally comic errands; she’s protected as much by sentiment as screenwriting convention (Don’t Harm the Child). Moreover, Christensen can’t settle on a satisfactory tone—mawkish one moment, menacing the next, then everyone jumps into a choreographed dance number at the bowling alley. His movie is so vehement about Richie’s redemption that even its bumpy detours are dully predictable.

Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

Tint/[Black] 25%25A Opens Fri., Jan. 9 at Sundance Cinemas. Not rated. 93 minutes.

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Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

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Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

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Q In flashbacks and a few fantasy sequences

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