Pie in the Sky

on February 09, 1996 by Ed Scheid
   One of the audience favorites, this first feature from writer/director Bryan Gordon (the Oscar-winning short "Ray's Heterosexual Male Dance Hall") explores one man's obsession with traffic. Charlie ("Threesome's" Josh Charles), conceived when his parents (Peter Riegert and Christine Ebersole) were caught in a traffic jam, is constantly fascinated by the vehicles passing on a nearby freeway. At 14, he believes "there's nothing more beautiful than traffic" -- until he meets Amy (Anne Heche). He impresses her by correctly predicting the time of day when a certain car will pass by, but her family moves away. Reunited several years later, the couple have a romance but break up. Meanwhile, Charlie's peculiar affection for vehicular matters continues via a lighted map he keeps in his bedroom that follows freeway movements and his idol, traffic reporter Alan Davenport (John Goodman). Charlie moves to a Hollywood apartment overlooking the 101, has an affair with his Cuban music-loving landlady (Christine Lahti) and is again reunited with Amy, now an avant-garde dancer. A bathroom encounter with Davenport changes his life.
   Charles brings an engaging eagerness to Charlie, making the son an effective contrast to Riegert's bad-tempered father. The usually serioso Lahti has fun with a change-of-pace part as the uninhibited older woman, and Goodman's egotistical Davenport is a comic highlight. The script has an appealing quirkiness in showing the characters' unusual preoccupations. Like his hero, Gordon gets more mileage than might be expected from this vehicle.    Starring Josh Charles, Anne Heche and Christine Lahti. Directed and written by Bryan Gordon. Produced by Denise Shaw and Alan Mindel. A New Line release. Comedy. Rated R for sexuality. Running time: 94 min.
Tags: infidelity, romance, Josh Charles, Anne Heche, Christine Lahti, John Goodman, Bryan Gordon

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