Based on the book of the same name by Peter Dexter, GOD’S POCKET is the feature film directorial debut of MAD MEN’s John Slattery. What starts out as a mildly interesting slice of life in a 1970’s era blue-collar Pennsylvania town devolves into a complete mess of dangling storylines, odd character motivations and bizarre happenstance combined with an odd tone. 

Mickey Scarpato’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) loudmouth stepson Leon (Caleb Landry Jones) dies while working on a construction crew as a day laborer. It’s murder but the boy had it coming, so his co-workers tell the police that it was an accident. 

Mickey’s wife Jeanie (Christina Hendricks) for no apparent reasons doesn’t buy the accident story and enlists the help of the alcoholic (and lecherous) local celebrity journalist Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins) to investigate. He’s more interested in having sex with Jeanie than reporting the story. 

Adding to the problems are Mickey’s money problems. How can he pay for a funeral when he can barely pay the mortgage? 

What could have been an entertaining character study, instead comes across as extremely underdeveloped. None of the storylines are given their proper due but ironically at 88min. GOD’S POCKET still feels long and tedious. 

I went into the movie cold without reading any reviews or even seeing the trailer. I’m also a fan of MAD MEN and Philip Seymour Hoffman. So I was certainly going to cut this film some slack. Unfortunately my patience can only be worn so thin. 

If I’m to be honest, this movie is not worth your time, even on cable. It pains me to say that especially with so much talent involved, but ultimately the movie doesn’t work.

MAY 6, 2014