Movie review: 'Welcome To The Rileys'

If you are like me, you probably hadn't heard of Kristen Stewart before “Twilight”.  But if you have teenagers (and even if you don't), after the vampire craze got out of hand, you most likely had enough of seeing Bella's angst-stricken, love-sick face on everything but your corn cereal.  Now that the young actress has settled into Hollywood royalty, we're about to get an eyeful (and earfuls!) of the girl-vampire's real acting range.


Clothes, legs and an inordinate amount of expletives fly all over the place in Stewart's next film, “Welcome To The Rileys”, which she filmed before “Twilight” skyrocketted her to fame. Here she plays the role of a runaway teen stripper, lap dancing in fishnets and platform shoes, starring James Gandolfini as Doug Riley, and Melissa Teo (“Conviction”) as the dejected Lois Riley.

The film focuses on the combative relationship between Mallory (Stewart) a wayward teen, and a grieving father, Doug Riley (Gandolfini) who meet after Doug decides to walk away from his routine life while at a convention in New Orleans in search of redemption from the betrayals he'd committed earlier.  He decides to try to do the right thing by the scowling teen, and gets her to turn her life around by treating her as his own.

Lois (Teo) is grieving the tragic loss of her daughter by locking herself up in her home and becoming completely estranged from her husband, but is ultimately pushed outside again when she has to chose between recapturing her husband's love or staying in her emotional jail. Melissa Teo gives us the only bit of comedy relief in the movie as she tries to manouvre a modern automible after having been on self-imposed house arrest for eight years following their daughters death.

James Gandolifini delivers an endearing and fatherly performance, but Stewart steals the scenes with her unabashed rage as a bruised and mascara-smudged prostitute. Kristen Stewart turns some tricks, so to speak, with a gritty, edgy performance befitting of her signature fidgety personality — it almost feels too natural for the then-teenager to act as the rebellious, street-wise hooker she represents in this rough, yet oddly heartwarming, film.

I saw this little gem at the San Diego Film Festival this year, and was quite suprised when I realized I was drawn into the film and felt invested in the three sould-tortured characters in the Jake Scott movie. The acting is quite good, and pulls at your heartstrings with a steady hold until it releases them in the end. Overall,  I liked this movie, but I must caution you that there are some very raw scenes totally inappropriate for teens — or fans of  Bella, for that matter.  There's practically nothing that will remind you of the romantic roles Stewart took on in the “Twilight Saga”…but this could well be the one that gets her noticed come awards season, and sets her apart from Bella for good.
Rated R for extremely foul language, strong sexual content, brief drug use, and vulgarity involving a teenager.
I'd pay $8 out $10 bucks to see this film.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.