Domestic Disturbance has the foundations for being a nice little story about trust and father / son relationships. Yet if falls away rather sadly as things get all Hollywood.John Travolta gives me the creeps.
Behind the façade of his manic grin there seems to be a manic evil that's about to maniacally betray you. That works well in films like Face Off and Swordfish, but when he's being The Good Guy you're suspicious and unconvinced. You can not help worrying that at some point he's going to get you when you least expect it.
It's his grin. I don't like the grin.
Travolta plays Frank Morrison, a boat builder and divorcee living in Wilmington, NC. His ex wife, Susan (Polo), is about to remarry to Rick (Vaughn). Rick, a newcomer to town, is a bit of a philanthropist, but Susan and Frank's son, Danny (O'Leary) is suspicious of him. Danny's protestations fall on deaf ears though as he has a reputation for making things up. No one believes Danny so he goes to his dad for help.
This film for the most part flows along quite nicely with a story that a lot of kids of divorcees will find all too familiar. Yet it's taken to an absurd extreme, and it all avalanches away rather dreadfully in the final quarter as things start looking like a slasher film without the fun or cleavage.
The story slowly, but gradually loses the viewer's interest as things go conventionally and unimaginatively along like one of Frank's boats down a quiet river. There's no torrents, waterfalls or unexpected turns. It just goes until it runs out of water.
Vaughn has done the bad guy thing well in films like Clay Pigeons. In this film you have no trouble in believing his character - until he starts talking. Then you know what this guy's intentions are.
Steve Buscemi is, as always, awesome. In a small role, we know he's doing it on autopilot, but it's still fun to watch him go through the motions.
O'Leary follows that long line of young actors that seem to be able to act at such a high standard. He's rather believable in his Boy Who Cried Wolf role.
Yet these nice performances don't make up for the rather flabby story and Travolta's annoying presence.Becker needed to insert far more tension into the film to hook in the viewer. With a little more unease injected in and a bit more restraint in the conclusion then this film may have been more rewarding.