Careless is an airheaded romantic comedy with a largely unmet yen to be edgy, and yet it manages to coast along on a somewhat inexplicable laidback charm. Most of that appeal undoubtedly can be attributed to its lead, Colin Hanks, who sports glasses, a stubbly beard and the exasperated comic persona of his famous father, Tom Hanks.
Hanks plays Wiley Roth, a slacker bookworm who works at Book'em, a bookstore specializing in mysteries. Then Wiley, who is forced to wear a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap when on the job, stumbles into a mystery of his own. One evening, he discovers a severed finger on the floor of his kitchen. In one of many credibility-strained plot turns, Wiley does not immediately call the police. Instead, he places the solitary digit in a Ziploc bag and resolves to track down its rightful owner.
As happenstance (and I do mean happenstance) would have it, Wiley takes time off from his amateur sleuthing to attend a party with his pal, Mitch (Fran Kranz). At the shindig, Wiley hits it off with a pretty blonde named Cheryl (Rachel Blanchard). They start dating, but our would-be detective is a bit distracted by one thing: Cheryl happens to be missing a finger.
Does the severed finger belong to Cheryl? If so, how did it find its way into Wiley's kitchen? And how did it find its way off Cheryl's hand?
These and other questions are (mostly) explained through some tortured contrivances. Careless proves to be a more appropriate title than the filmmakers intended. The direction of Peter Spears is stagy and sluggish. More problematic is Eric Laster's screenplay. It just isn't particularly funny.
What keeps Careless from being a total dud is a talented, likeable cast. Wiley Roth is largely undefined, but Hanks makes up ground with his low-key, Everyman charisma (a chip off the old block, perhaps). Even better, there is real chemistry between him and Blanchard. Tony Shalhoub, who plays Wiley's no-account father, is always fun to watch, while Kranz is a cut above the norm as Wiley's wiseass best friend.
Still, I kept waiting for Wiley to whisk that finger off to a fast-food burger joint for some mischievous, litigation-rich hijinks. Now, that would've been funny.
In 1.78:1 widescreen and enhanced for 16x9 television screens, Careless boasts a solid picture quality. Colors are well-saturated and lines are clean and sharp.
The Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 doesn't get much of a workout in this dialogue-driven flick. That said, the audio is clean and crisp, and you don't need more than that. Optional subtitles are in Spanish and English for the hearing-impaired.
None, unless you count a trailer.
Colin Hanks, Rachel Blanchard and the rest of the cast make the most of Careless, but there's only so much magic they can do with a romcom lacking in laughs. If you absolutely need to see a movie about a severed appendage (and who doesn't these days?), revisit Blue Velvet.