In a heartwarming tale about honesty, struggle, perserverance, and family, Paul Giamatti plays Mike, a struggling lawyer who takes on care of a client in order to receive a monthly commission that would help keep his practice and his family afloat. Meanwhile, as his practice struggles, so does the local highschool wrestling team that he coaches, as they haven't won a match the whole year. However, when Mike declares he will take care of his client Leo, he doesn't bother to tell his loving wife (a wonderful Amy Ryan), and then breaks his promise to keep him home by lying to him and putting him in a retirement home. When Leo's grandson Kyle (Alex Shaffer) shows up on Leo's doorstep, Mike must take the kid in for a couple of days. When a couple of days turns into a longer time, as his druggie mother is still in rehab, Mike discovers that Kyle was one of the best wrestler's in his home state of Ohio (the movie takes place in New Jersey), and with Mike's encouragement, he regains his confidence to wrestle again and uplift a dying team. However, when Kyle's mother comes back to get him, Mike must confront his lie, as well as protect a kid who has become like a son to him.
Oscar Potential: I would love to say that Giamatti, Ryan, Cannavale, Shaffer, and Lynskey all had enough buzz to last all year, but it will probably end up being just Giamatti that has a real shot at, at least a Golden Globe nod, maybe more. The script by McCarthy is definitely a contender for Original Screenplay. My only concern is that it is so hard for a comedy (more like a dramedy, but you get the idea) with a small budget, and an early release date to survive the long and strenuous Oscar season. I hope this underdog tale, like its characters, can rise above its obstacles and stay in the race.