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Kenneth Turan's film pick of the week: 'Spooner'

March 3, 2011 |  8:30 am

Nora Zehetner and Matthew Lillard

Even in a film culture that celebrates first works of gifted young directors, it's still possible for gems to go undiscovered. Until now. Starting Friday, the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood and the South Coast Village in Santa Ana will host the first theatrical release of Drake Doremus' 2009 "Spooner."

Doremus, whose  "Like Crazy" won this year's Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, has crafted a delicate and quirky small scale romantic comedy about an earnest teddy bear of a guy (Matthew Lillard), age 30, who absolutely positively doesn’t want to leave home. And then he meets Rose (Nora Zehetner). Written by Lindsay Stidham, “Spooner” is sweet-natured, graceful and never overdone.

A different side of Doremus' talents were revealed in "Like Crazy," which was acquired by Paramount Pictures after a spirited Sundance bidding competition and should be released later this year.

The story of a relationship between two young people (beautifully played by Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones) that spans two continents and a number of years, "Like Crazy" brings a compelling intimacy and heart-stopping delicacy to showing the push and pull of love, longing and regret.

"Pure-hearted, emotionally involving films are what's capturing my heart right now," Doremus has said about his switch in tone. "It's all about capturing that emotional truth."

RELATED:

Sundance Film Festival: 'Like Crazy' director Drake Doremus is a romantic

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Nora Zehetner and Matthew Lillard in "Spooner." Credit: Moving Pictures Film and Television and Maya Entertainment

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