Review: Addiction drama 'Four Good Days' comes up short
Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
The opioid epidemic finds itself in the cinematic spotlight again in Rodrigo Garcia’s stagy addiction drama “Four Good Days” which should be called “Hillbilly Elegy II,” complete with Glenn Close in a major supporting role. Not that drug addiction isn’t worthy of a big-screen treatment, but with recent flicks like “Beautiful Boy” or “Ben is Back” hammering home similar messages, “Four Good Days” - for all of its good intentions - doesn’t have anything new or interesting to say outside of a compelling mother-daughter dynamic that, unfortunately, comes up short.
One can certainly appreciate the lengths Mila Kunis went in her preparations for playing Molly, the daughter to Close’s Deb, a recovering addict who relapsed 15-times prior and is determined to get sober, but Kunis pushes for an emotional reaction that never comes and the entire picture feels like a cheap after-school special who happened to attract two heavy hitters. It’s beyond predictable.
Those who have seen the aforementioned titles above will know the pace “Four Good Days” is yearning for, and newcomers might be intrigued by Close’s presence, but it’s the same routine formula without spunk. The film opens with Molly begging Deb for “just one more chance” despite several nasty instances over the years that suggest she be locked in a mental institution. Deb relents, offering to check her estranged daughter - who she hasn’t seen since the last effort to get clean - into a local rehab facility. The doctors suggest a monthly injection to train Molly’s body to reject deadly toxins that enter her bloodstream. First, she’ll have to detox which will take, drum roll please, four days. An eternity for a drug addict and a mother with zero patience.
So begins the countdown and the obligatory mother-daughter bonding that’ll eventually take a swerve once the detox goes south (and trust me, it will). Hints of Molly’s past life, including a failed marriage with two kids, is peppered in Garcia and Eli Saslow’s tepid screenplay but it's the ultimatum of will she or won’t she relapse which becomes the driving factor of the film, undermining the emotional core between Molly and Deb. Stephen Root is tossed a thankless role as Deb’s husband whose sole purpose is to remind audiences of Molly’s stints with drugs and nothing else: “Now remember what happened last time…”
Based on a true story, “Four Good Days” is refreshing in that it's not another hokey father-son weepie, but the pattern of watching Molly’s road to recovery, she gets better and then worse and then better again before getting worse, is a tedious exercise. Try as they might, Close and Kunis strive for a believable relationship, but they’re stuck with a glossy and tidy screenplay too focused on the problem and not finding a solution.
FOUR GOOD DAYS opens in theaters Friday April, 30th