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Eddie Miller has spent the last three decades of his life as a traveling
diamond salesman. His clients are curmudgeonly independent jewelers in
small Pennsylvania towns; he's known them for years, developing
relationships with them that go beyond just business. Eddie's a good
salesman who knows that taking the time to get to know his customers is
the key to success. Unfortunately, after Eddie has a heart attack, his
company informs him that he's become too expensive to insure. (When
you're carrying hoards of diamonds in your briefcase, insurance is a
big, big deal.) Eddie finds himself on the verge of losing the job to
which he has devoted most of his life. His schmuck of a boss basically
informs him that they'll keep him on long enough to train a new
salesman. The new guy turns out to be a cocky youngster named Bobby, who
pulls up to work on his first day in a flashy red sports car,
rock-n-roll blaring. Old-fashioned, jazz-loving Eddie is not impressed,
and his opinion doesn't improve when he sees that Bobby's overbearing
sales approach is a disaster on the road. For all his bravado, however,
Bobby's not a bad guy at heart, and he soon realizes that he has a lot
to learn from Eddie's quiet, steady ways. Slowly, Eddie manages to mold
Bobby into a fine diamond man, even as he shakes his head in
bewilderment at Bobby's womanizing. Eddie still hasn't recovered from
the loss of his wife a year ago, and has pretty much resigned himself to
living out his remaining days all alone. As a real friendship develops
between the two salesmen, Bobby begins to realize he can teach the
lonely widower a few things as well.
How can you not love Robert Forster? The man just looks so gosh-darn
kind and trustworthy, even while his eyes seem to reveal that he's seen
a lifetime of sadness. There's something reassuringly solid about his
presence; even when he's not saying a word -- which, come to think of
it, is often -- you just feel better knowing he's there on-screen. As an
actor, Forster is earnest without being a sap, likable without having to
turn on the charm. In short, he makes any movie worth watching -- and in
the character-driven Diamond Men, he's found the perfect vehicle
to showcase his undeniable talent. That Forster is wonderful as Eddie
should come as no surprise to anyone who saw the actor in Jackie
Brown; far more surprising is that he's well-matched by Donnie
Wahlberg as Bobby. The former New Kid offers the perfect balance of
annoying arrogance and genuine affability; in a role you could easily
imagine his brother Mark inhabiting, Donnie proves that
though he's not the Wahlberg that's getting the big bucks, it's not for
lack of talent. The first half of the film ambles along nicely like a
long road trip with no real destination, and when the plot does
eventually kick into gear, the movie begins to stumble a bit. The plot
twists aren't nearly as surprising as they're supposed to be, and for
the most part, I found myself wishing it would just get back to
concentrating on the relationship between the two main characters.
Ultimately, however, Dan Cohen's low-budget indie is a very satisfying
buddy flick that offers fine acting, excellent characterizations, and
good dialogue. —reviewed
by Yee-Fan Sun
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