No Looking Back | Chicago Reader

No Looking Back

Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen) wrote, directed, and acts in this useless romantic drama that reiterates its main theme, with no new inflections, in nearly every scene. Lauren Holly has taken up with Jon Bon Jovi after Burns's character has left her and Rockaway Beach, where they all grew up together. He returns three years later wanting her back, and he may have a shot. She's still waiting tables in the same dead-end diner, and he still represents the dream of escape to a better life, as we learn in one of those pathetic scenes during which characters take turns asking each other questions they already know the answers to. In case we don't get the idea that people lead either extensions or inversions of their parents' lives, nearly every line of dialogue refers to it, and so much of the camera work just alternates close-ups of the actors that the mood depends entirely on unintegrated montages of evocative locations. Burns is a better actor than a director and a better director than a writer: he's very convincing as the opportunistic charmer, and he somehow persuades several other actors to speak their tired lines as if they almost meant them.

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