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‘Igby Goes Down’: Another Culkin bites the dust

STANFORD, Calif. – How many Culkins are there? And how many bad independent movies can they make?

First, Kieran Culkin stinks up Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.

Now there’s Rory Culkin in Igby Goes Down, which is also disappointing. Given its all-star cast (Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon and Ryan Phillipe) and the overwhelming lack of movies worth watching lately, Igby does not deliver.

The third Catcher in the Rye spin-off of the year (along with Tadpole and The Good Girl), Igby follows an almost 18-year-old boy who leads a life of hard knocks.

He manages to get himself thrown out of several schools and runs away from home – “home” for him means a schizophrenic father, an unrelenting mother and an arrogant brother. He then wanders around New York City, crashing at the rendezvous loft of his godfather and his mistress. “Life on the street” for Igby means a millionaire godfather who hands him money.

Like every other character in the movie, Igby is cold and unforgiving, and during his stay at the loft, he has cold and unforgiving sex with Rachel, his godfather’s mistress. A string of bad events follow: his brother steals his older girlfriend (Danes), his mom develops terminal cancer, and finally Igby is left with no one except for a cross-dressing performance artist – a painter who does not paint – who hangs around at the loft.

The movie was written as though director Burr Steers sat down and thought up the worst possible things that could happen and strung them together into a dramedy, ignoring all concept of realistic character yet entirely missing the mark of satire as well. Not a single dramatic moment is sincere.

The acting is so obviously forced that A-list actors such as Danes and Sarandon come off as amateurs.

The movie lacks any real heart in the same way the characters do, allowing no visible entryway to draw the audience into the story.