At Any Price is a movie that desperately wants to be taken seriously, but it fails to leave a mark. Writer/director Ramin Bahrani's fifth feature film is a family drama that combines the desperation of the middle class businessman trying to stay afloat with the hot button issue of genetically modified crops, then throws in a chafing father/son relationship and the everyday disappointments of growing up. Somehow, it's both too much and not enough.
The Whipple family and their problems encapsulates the predicament of Midwestern famers who are driven to desperate measures to stay afloat. This isn't the same homestead that the ancestors of Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) once farmed; it's big biz agriculture, which means Henry's out hustling genetically modified seeds and snatching up land from graveside families of freshly dead farmers. His Glengarry Glen Ross-style exhortations to "Always Be Closing" is emphasized by a sort of sweaty and pathetic performance from Quaid, who manages to be both charming and loathsome.
Naturally, Henry has a favorite son, the athletic and handsome Grant (Patrick Stevens), whom Henry and his wife Irene (Kim Dickens) actually roll out a red carpet for in anticipation of his return. (Surprise: He's more interested in traveling the world than returning to Henry's clutching embrace.) That leaves Dean (Zac Efron) to take over the family business, even though he'd much rather hang out with his sh*tkicker friends and race cars and make out with his hot girlfriend Cadence (Maika Monroe).
The cinematography is sweeping and beautiful; those amber waves of grain sway hypnotically, lulling us into the sort of complacency that makes it perfectly acceptable to eat food that was tweaked out in a lab. Efron and Quaid are a perfect father and son pair: the Type A aging golden boy versus the fiery-tempered teen who eventually trades his sleeveless T-shirts for a nicely pressed button-up. Of course, dressing like your dad and actually having an affair with his mistress (Heather Graham, in a role as thankless as Dickens') is another. T
The core idea of At Any Price is to put a human face on the changing nature of agriculture, and not just how it affects the food on our shelves but the farmers who've had to change the nature of their livelihood to keep pace. Trying to build a drama around an idea is difficult, especially such a big and political one. The dynamics between Henry and Dean are nothing new or interesting; the only time you really feel the pain of intergenerational disappointment is when Henry meets with his father and you see that it's all a game of trying to live up to a father figure that will never be satisfied.
At Any Price also deals with the shadier nature of the corn business, but it's a dramatic development that lacks the sort of urgency that the title of the movie implies. Although on paper it would seem the stakes are high in At Any Price, documentaries about subsidized farming or GMO crops are far more alarming.
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Kristen Stewart once again proved she is not a typical Hollywood starlet when she flew across the country over the weekend to attend a producer friend’s wedding in New Jersey, but forgot to pack her dress.
Luckily for her, the groom’s sister happened to have an extra Zac Posen cocktail dress sitting in her closet, which she was happy to lend out to the world’s highest-grossing actress (Stewart earned an estimated $34.5 million from May 2011 to May 2011). Of course, being Hollywood’s designated against-the-mainstream girl, it didn’t take long before Stewart decided to change out of the designer dress and back into her jeans. (Such a typical move on her part.)
The wedding of producer Kevin Turen (An American Crime) and Evelina Oboza was in no short supply of well-dressed stars, however — Stewart’s boyfriend and Twilight costar Robert Pattinson, along with Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield, and more were in attendance (and in their planned wedding attire for the entire affair).
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Kristen Stewart — and a fairly large percentage of young 'it' Hollywood — went to a producer friend's wedding in New Jersey over the weekend, and, wouldn't you know it, she forgot her dress.
Luckily, though, she's a huge celebrity, and the groom's sister was more than happy to lend Stewart a Zac Posen cocktail dress that just so happened to be sitting in her closet.
Stewart attended the wedding of producer Kevin Turen (An American Crime) and Evelina Oboza, who, it turns out, have quite the famous friends: Stewart's boyfriend Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield, and Will Kopelman (aka Mr. Drew Barrymore) were just some of the big names on hand as the couple exchanged vows on Saturday night.
And any doubt about Stewart and Pattinson's couplehood was put to rest by a lucky attendee who was more than happy to report on the Twilight duo, telling People.com, "They stuck to each other's side all night." But both were reportedly not too famous to mingle with the guests — especially Pattinson, who was eager to serve as guest deejay for part of the affair.
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The three stars were among the congregation at the nuptials of movie producer Kevin Turen and actress Evelina Oboza in New Jersey on Saturday (23Jun12), and they took the opportunity to provide some entertainment for revellers.
A fellow guest tells UsMagazine.com, "There was a little area where you could go and play music. Rob sang, Andrew played the bongos, Zac played the guitar. It was a whole spectacle!"
Other guests at the wedding included Pattinson's girlfriend and Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart and Drew Barrymore's husband Will Kopelman.