For a while, John Travolta was known as “The Comeback Kid” for revitalizing his movie career with such hits as Phenomenon, Face/Off, and many more. Since then, he’s done Battlefield Earth, Lucky Numbers, and Swordfish, none of which have done exceptionally well at the box office, and all have receieved pretty ravaging reviews (especially his “sci-fi” epic). So once again he is looking for his great return in Domestic Disturbance, a rather non-engaging but fun thriller.
Travolta stars as a divorced dad who is okay with his ex-wife marrying another man (Vince Vaughn), until his son accuses his new stepfather of murdering an old “business” partner (Steve Buscemi). Travolta believes his son and begins to investigate the crime himself, leading to the truth that the audience knows is out there. It sounds like a lot of other movies, and in complete honesty, Domestic Disturbance is just a rehash of some better films; nevertheless, it serves up some entertainment value and, with its great cast, helps hide some of its flaws.
The best part about the movie is that it is incredibly short, dropping in at just under an hour and a half. At that short of a time, the director is able to make a slightly drab movie seem fairly fast-paced; if Domestic Disturbance was a full two hours, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. As already mentioned, the plot is nothing new, and there really aren’t any twists and turns to speak of. The few action scenes are pretty watered down and not very thrilling, and that is where Domestic Disturbance definitely does not shine; I never felt any suspense whatsoever.
In the end, you know who is going to live and who is going to die, and the most suspenseful scenes focus on Vaughn and his stepson. Both actors do a good job interacting with each other, but after a few scenes that appear to be about the same, they just didn’t do it for me anymore. Basically, Domestic Disturbance is trying to create a level of suspense that it cannot attain in its present form, and thus relies on rapid script to keep things going. Again, it wasn’t boring to watch, but if you’re looking for a complex, engaging thriller, look somewhere else.
The only real problem I had with the movie is the ending, which seemed too short and cliché. Vaughn gets stuck in a shocking situation and that’s about it; the movie ends without any sense of real completion, and without ever getting to the point. Even a relatively basic movie like Domestic Disturbance can have a decent ending if done right; in the least, the action should have been drawn out farther. I would have liked to have seen the mother become more involved, such as have Travolta, her, and their son try to escape Vaughn for a longer period of time. But, as is, it was pretty disappointing.
Domestic Disturbance is a fun and mindless piece of entertainment, completely harmless and worth watching on a leisurely night; on the other hand, there are a lot of higher quality pictures out there. Maybe Travolta should do another movie with John Woo.