March 5, 2010 / 2:28 AM / 9 years ago

Thriller? "Stolen" more like a rip-off

Cast member Josh Lucas attends a premiere at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood May 10, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - If there’s a lesson to be gleaned from “Stolen,” it’s that combining two essentially dull stories results in less than the sum of their parts.

Anders Anderson’s sluggish thriller concerning two separate missing-children cases spanning 50 years has its intriguing elements, but despite a cast that includes Josh Lucas and the white-hot Jon Hamm, it never really comes together.

Already available on VOD before a March 12 theatrical release through IFC Films, it should reach its biggest audiences on the small screen.

The film interweaves two stories with similar themes. The first, set in the present, concerns Tom Adkins (Hamm), a detective whose 10-year-old son recently disappeared.

When a child’s remains are uncovered at a construction site, it turns out to be not his child but rather a young boy who was killed a half-century earlier. A series of flashbacks subsequently reveals the story of Matthew Wakefield (Lucas), a down-on-his-luck blue-collar worker faced with the burden of caring for his three young sons when his wife commits suicide. Although he’s able to leave two of the boys with relatives, he’s forced to hold onto his special-needs child, John (Jimmy Bennett).

Things start to look up when he gets a construction job and makes a few friends, including the affable Diploma (James Van Der Beek). But when he makes the mistake of leaving his sleeping youngster in his car while he indulges in a quickie with a married woman (Morena Baccarin), it results in the boy’s mysterious disappearance.

Glenn Taranto’s intricate screenplay doesn’t manage to tie the stories together in compelling fashion, and the solution to the eventually conjoined mysteries — involving a figure from the past who turns out to be also involved in the present — is not particularly credible.

Hamm is unable to do much with his underwritten role, and the present-day sequences don’t really hold interest. Lucas fares much better in the more involving flashback scenes, but despite providing his character with a moving pathos, he too is unable to overcome the story’s deficiencies.

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