Shot in Seattle and seen at SIFF this spring, this dark comedy's release was delayed by Harvey Weinstein's scissors after its Sundance '11 premiere. Is it now better or worse than the original cut? I can't say, but marauding raccoons, a gonzo Laura Linney, and an amoral Tobey Maguire are good enough for me. Maguire plays a bland, smug doctor aggravated by the raccoons ripping up his new lawn. His wife (Elizabeth Banks) tells him to roll with it, but this Prius-driving coward must vent his passive aggression. When garden hose and floodlights fail, he lays out poison . . . at which point Linney's neighbor gets involved. To call her a crazy cat lady doesn't begin to describe this Earth mama/harridan/sexually needy hippie. Lila is such a force of nature that all future hurricanes should be named after her. Again, Maguire's Dr. Jeff is a weakling when it comes to both raccoons and women (Kerry Washington has a nice turn as a comely medical colleague). Written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes (Mean Creek), The Details has an admittedly choppy rhythm, like a Cheever story with random pages missing. But the remaining pages are good cruel fun. Man-child Jeff gets all the humiliation and comeuppance he deserves, plus a well-delivered lecture on moral consequence from Ray Liotta's angry cuckold. Lila gets what she wants, and the raccoons get what they want (worms, grubs, etc.). But Estes isn't rolling out a reassuring moral fable like neat new sod in the backyard. Rather, he suggests, the real animals live indoors.
Don't eat the pie! Linney and Maguire.
Opens Fri., Nov. 9 at Sundance and iPic cinemas. Rated R. 91 minutes. Read our SIFF interview with writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes.