Panic
*** GM
Starring: William H. Macy, Donald Sutherland, Neve Campbell, Tracey Ullman, John Ritter, Barbara Bain, David Dorfman

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William H. Macy is the shittin'est dick. He's the fuckin'est.

That means he's really good. I love watching the guy, since he's always interesting. He's almost always got a likable quality about him, although he was able to hide it really well when he was guesting on "Sports Night," a series whose cancellation I'm still pissed off about. He's just constantly compelling to watch, and Panic is no different.

He's playing Alex, a man who runs a mail-order knick-knack business by day and kills people in his spare time with full approval of his parents (Sutherland, Bain) and completely unbeknownst to his wife and son (Ullman, Dorfman). But he's dissatisfied and has started seeing a shrink (Ritter), although he's more drawn to the beautiful young thing (Campbell) he meets in the waiting room before each session. It's a mid-life crisis, just like any normal joe, but it's complicated by his father's dangerous unwillingness to let him leave the family business.

It's an interesting film, but not entirely engrossing. My main issue with the film is the whole Neve Campbell angle. Not necessarily a bad performance, but she's just one of those female characters that shows up in films periodically that's just too conveniently free with her sexuality to really be believed. Her mental health issues notwithstanding, I just don't buy her letting Alex stalk her as he does, even if his "sad eyes" are beautiful, simply because the main vibe he gives off around her is just 'creepy older guy,' even if it's not what the character actually is. I've never really known that to work on a gal, but maybe I just haven't been around the right blocks.

Sutherland makes a really good troublesome and undeniable father figure that can hardly handle basic interpersonal relationships, and Dorfman's a great little kid. Ullman is really good at playing characters, which is what her television experience showcases (although it also points out that she's not necessarily funny while doing it), and she's good here as Alex's unsuspecting and alienated wife.

It's a film worth seeing, but it's not something that'll blow anyone away. Then again, it's not really trying to.

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