The Talent Given Us

Writer-director Andrew Wagner cast his own family in this comic road movie, shooting with a single digital camera as his overbearing mother, Judy, and irascible father, Allen, drive from New York to Los Angeles to pay him a visit. They and their two grown daughters, Maggie and Emily, play thinly fictionalized versions of themselves, and puzzling over the story's autobiographical parameters is a good part of its neurotic fun. The sisters are both Hollywood bit players, and Judy studied acting in college. But the most poignant performance comes from Allen, a retired stock analyst who clings to his masculine pride even though his body's falling apart on him. 97 min.

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