First Hit: An odd sort of film about how easy it is to slide down a slippery slope. The film’s opening moments, with a voice over by Jeff Lang (played by Tobey Maguire), states the dilemma Jeff is going to go through for the next 91 minutes. He begins a string of decisions, which include installing sod, bypassing city ordinances, and lying to his wife resulting in his going down a slippery slope that includes a murder. Jeff is married to Nealy (played by Elizabeth Banks) and they have one young child. When Jeff decides, against Nealy’s wishes to install sod in their backyard the raccoons begin to dig it up. Although he’s successful pediatrician this new battle between him and the raccoons becomes obsessive. His odd neighbor Lila (played by Laura Linney) gets wind of his battles and becomes an unwilling and spiteful participant in this war in different ways. Jeff and Nealy and friends with Rebecca and Peter Mazzoni (played by Kerry Washington and Ray Liotta respectively) and Jeff’s indiscretion with Rebecca digs him farther into the hole he’s creating for himself. Lincoln (played by Dennis Haysbert) plays on a pick-up basketball team with Jeff and becomes, yet another unwilling/willing participant in Jeff’s demise. The story is in the details (hence the title).
Maguire is an interesting choice for this role and actually carries it off quite well. There is an air of intelligence and stupidity in this role that he transmits strongly. I ended up both rooting for and against him in different scenes. Banks is good as the wife who is in her own space, not very engaged with Jeff, but decides to support her husband as the truth begins to unfold. Linney is fabulous in this very quirky role as the neighbor. Washington is OK as Jeff’s friend and colleague. Liotta is very good at bringing danger and learned redemption to his character. Haysbert is a standout in his role as gracious and grateful friend of Jeff’s. Jacob Aaron Estes wrote and directed this quite, quirky and at times interesting film.
Overall: It doesn’t quite grab the audience totally although some of the performances are very good.