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Shaking The Tree Review

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★★★★★

New Year's Eve approaches, and four chums-since-childhood take stock of their lives: hot shot property dealer Barry (Gross), has split with his bride-to-be; Sully (Hansen), a ne'er do well from a rich family, is in hock to the mob for a bet he can't pay; Michael (Savant) the teacher grapples with his first novel, his pregnant wife and (almost) with a sexy young student; and Duke (Wilde), ex-boxer turned barkeep, wants to improve his lot. As they seem to have done everything in quartet since long-trouserable age, they turn to each other with their problems.

This is possibly the worst thing any of them could do. What got each of them into their respective mess was their sitting back and letting life happen to them - ie being totally feeble - so now they need to actually partake they're not actually capable. Instead of shaking the tree (of life), as is talked about, they meander through a week of self-pity - angst-ridden conversations and a lot of hugging - until their dilemas are resolved for them by other people. While this entirely convincing display of spinelessness warrants some sort of tribute to actors and director, it's far from galvanising cinema. Long before the end, the main question isn't so much will they get through this difficult period, but how on earth did they manage to live as long as to reach it.