By Matt Passantino
Better Living Through Chemistry is a wicked little movie with a sharp, sometimes dark sense of humor. It could easily go unnoticed, but the film, playing until Thursday, March 20 at The Little, is offers the chance to see one of the industry’s best and most hardworking actors in top comedic form.
Sam Rockwell stars as Douglas Varney, a small town pharmacist who leads a pretty ordinary life. He is married to Kara (Michelle Monoghan), who spends the day in her personal gym as a spin instructor. Outside of the gym, she is a very competitive cyclist. Douglas and Kara’s marriage seems strained. They have one son together but the family does not really spend much time together. One night, while delivering medications to patients, Douglas arrives at the home of Elizabeth Roberts (Olivia Wilde). She is a gorgeous, boozy trophy wife who seduces Douglas into an affair. The crazy chain of events that occurs after that is the reason to see Chemistry.
Rockwell is an extraordinarily gifted actor who handles drama and comedy with aplomb. In Better Living Through Chemistry he is given a chance to do both and his performance never falters. His nervous mannerisms and razor sharp comedic timing bring Douglas alive, adding another interesting performance to Rockwell’s filmography. His performance is equally matched by the film’s overall kinetic energy which, once it gets moving, does not take a breath until the very end. The rest of the cast is entertaining, especially Wilde, but this is a Rockwell show.
Matt Passantino is a student at SUNY Brockport.