Throwing Stars



Grass Roots Films/TigerLily Media

LAS VEGAS -- An amiable dramedy about male bonding, "Throwing Stars" takes a not-unfamiliar theme and freshens it up with a bright, energetic ensemble and generally upbeat tone.

Winner of the Audience Award for narrative feature at the recently wrapped CineVegas Film Festival, this first feature by Todd Breau deserves to find a theatrical distributor before landing on DVD.

Ryan Steckloff's script follows the exploits of four lifelong Jacksonville, Fla., buddies in various stages of arrested development. There's Mark (Scott Grimes), a depressed, out-of-work doctor who has been reduced to producing methamphetamines out of his home; stoner Bobby (Jason London), who is still having trouble coping after losing his wife in a car accident several years earlier; dimwitted, doughy-faced Laith (Scott Michael Campbell), who is suffering performance anxiety with his too-hot-for-him girlfriend; and the paternal Hutto (David DeLuise), whose wife is about to give birth to their first child.

When Mark is forced to defend himself against one of his scarier customers (Kevin Durand), a crazed meth dealer and bestiality porn producer who ends up with a ninja star fatally embedded in his head (hence the title), his buddies come to the rescue, helping to dispose of the body.

Their ensuing exploits might play out like a more benign "Very Bad Things," but Breau and Steckloff nail the male camaraderie with an easy acuity that's amusingly lobbed back and forth among the four leads.

Although the agreeable tone turns a bit schmaltzy toward the end, it's hard to fault a film that also features Wayne Knight, of "Seinfeld" fame, in fine form as a snoopy highway patrolman, not to mention a lively little monkey with special talents.