Movie Review: “Up on the Glass,” down in the (thriller) dumps

The reunion of the old Dartmouth classmates starts with flattery. Lots of it.

“You see through us…You never fail to impress…I’m not as smart as you.”

And let’s not forget my favorite.

“I envy your hands.”

I mean, I’m a straight male. But rarely have I been more disappointed that a movie didn’t turn into some homoerotic “realization” drama than “Up on the Glass.” That’s what the gathering of tipsy, on-his-second-marriage Moze (Steve Holm) and itinerant “carpenter with an Ivy League degree” Jack (Chase Fein) at the Lake Michigan beachfront home of investments manager Andy (Hunter Cross) sets up as.

Come on. All the drinking/bonding, passing out on the beach? Footraces and biting banter? Wrestling?

But alas, no. This dawdling, dramatically flat and drably-acted picture is a thriller, of all things. Because all this frat-bro bonding, seen mainly from brooding, Gyllenhaalish Jack’s point-of-view, is headed for…tragedy.

Jack’s a lost soul, wasting that Dartmouth education on dead-end jobs that he loses over principles, apparently. Andy is the very picture of callow greed and ill-gotten gains.

His wife’s out of town. Let’s pick up two locals (Jessica Lynn Parsons and co-writer Nikki Brown) in “The Inn.”

Ah, but Andy’s wife is the “one who got away” to Jack. And in a heated moment, we wonder just how much Jack resents the life that’s not his. Because Andy winds up dead.

The “thriller” here is meant to come from suspense generated by Jack’s efforts to cover-his-tracks and his ability to show his poker-face to Liza (Chelsea Kurtz), the “one who got away” and married Andy.

The cast is good-looking and nicely-turned-out, but from one end to the other, almost devoid of expression. The boring banter of the boys transitions to the crime and cover-up on the same, flat story trajectory with performances to match.

A moment of remorse here, a failed attempt to showing “panic” there, but mostly this is scene after scene with little urgency and no tension or heat (sexual or otherwise).

You might feel relief that the reunion in the opening act isn’t what this is all about. But everything that comes afterword just makes it worse.

MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, alcohol, sexual situations

Cast: Chase Fein, Hunter Cross, Chelsea Kurtz, Steve Holm, Jessica Lynn Parsons and Nikki Brown.

Credits: Directed by Kevin Del Principe, script by Nikki Brown and Kevin Del Principe. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:36

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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