Herman Spooner (Matthew Lillard) stands just days away from his 30th birthday, facing expulsion from his parents’ home and no sense of who his is or where he’s going. He has reserved his life to the what ifs and dreams that he hasn’t the courage to tackle. One chance encounter changes it all.
Spooner is a quirky little comedy that for the most part works and is powered by wonderful performances from its lead actors. It’s a movie that’s been made before, will be yet again, but has something to say and does so in a unique and engaging way.
Lillard stars as Spooner, a used car salesman who has yet to find his calling in life and is content to be a bottom of the barrel performer. He yearns for the life that he is too scared to encounter. He has holed himself up in his parents’ house, but those days are numbered. His parents have set the steadfast deadline of his 30th birthday for their baby boy to exit their home.
Spooner’s ordinary existence takes a turn after he encounters Rose (Nora Zehetner) stranded on the side of the road. Instead of being cool with chilling in his parent’s basement playing video games, Spooner now finds himself doing whatever he can to keep Rose in his life, up to, and including, sabotaging her car.
Rose, on the other hand, has decided to do “something monumental” with her life and is leaving in just a few short days for the Philippines as an English teacher. She slowly learns that the life Spooner speaks of leading doesn’t exist and wants to make a clean break and get on her way.
After finally standing up for himself, Spooner sets off to crash Rose’s going away party and set things right. He comes clean to her and convinces her to go to the Philippines when she begins to voice her feelings about not going. When he takes control of his life, he finally gets what he’s needed.
Lillard has a very difficult role in this movie. He has to strike a delicate balance of needing to be accepted and loved and not being a stalker. Admittedly, at times I found the character more stalkish than naïve, but it didn’t detract from the performance Lillard gives.
Zehetner packs a nice little punch. The petite beauty is a commanding presence on the screen. While she never has a moment to shine on her own, she steals most of the scenes she’s in and gives the film a believability that it wouldn’t have had without her charm.
The script is filled with moments that will leave you laughing, but none will hit you harder than the scene with Spooner’s boss Stan (Shea Whigham) and a sprinkled donut. Christopher McDonald and Kate Burton also give solid, funny turns as Spooner’s loving, yet fed up parents.
Lillard and Zehetner give heartfelt, charming performance as two characters standing at the brink, knowing that they must make a change, but too scared to take that first step. Zehetner seems just one step away from being a household name. Her elegant allure is powerful and she’s able to achieve so much with subtle movements and dialog. Zehetner is someone to keep your eye on.
Spooner is a lovable little comedy that has the right blend of charm, laughs and heart. A very enjoyable flick.