Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Things To Do

Review: Quaid, Efron make 'At Any Price' worth it

At Any Price (R) (105 min.) — Saving the family farm is the furthest thing from Dean Whipple's mind, distracted as he is by dreams of becoming a NASCAR champion and having silo sex with the town slut. Meanwhile, Dean's father, Henry, is obsessed with saving the farm, going to illegal and unethical lengths to do it while saving time to sex up the same slut. It's a dysfunctional family affair — Dallas transplanted to America's heartland.

Yet somehow from such boiler plate material director Ramin Bahrani and his co-writer Hallie Elizabeth Newton fashion sporadically compelling drama, a lack-of-character study trashy enough for fun and thoughtful enough to be taken seriously. Toss in another solid performance by Dennis Quaid as Henry and an unexpected one from Zac Efron as Dean and At Any Price becomes an inviting pastime, probably more so on home video.

Quaid's knack for blue-collar nobility comes in handy to play Henry, whose community standing would plummet if folks realized what a jerk he is. Henry's plan to save the farm involves copyrighted, genetically altered seeds, so there's a deep subplot about the ramifications of doing such business. Bahrani and Newton lighten up this unusual procedural with sex, lies and murder for a smartly soap operatic tone.

Efron makes hay with his richest role post-High School Musical, making Dean a rural rake with conflicting charisma. Bahrani has never been an action filmmaker; his respected resume is built upon odd slices of quiet, peripheral lives, like Man Push Cart and Goodbye Solo. But he expertly stages Dean's racetrack scenes, making them fast straightaways in a movie with its share of momentum-draining, high-banked curves. B (BayWalk 20 in St. Petersburg)

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

Comments
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 26

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 26

American Stage in the Park: The Producers: Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy sees a down-and-out producer and his accountant scheme to produce the most notorious flop in theater history. Through May 13. 8 p.m., Demens Landing, 100 First Ave. SE, St. Pe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is stunningly dark, but it’s still wildly entertaining

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is stunningly dark, but it’s still wildly entertaining

What does Thanos want?That question lies at the heart of Avengers: Infinity War, the at-once dark, maddeningly open-ended yet fiercely entertaining new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which pits the titular global do-gooders — still s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Performances, songwriting get ‘Waitress’ from serviceable to filling — plus, there’s actually pie

Performances, songwriting get ‘Waitress’ from serviceable to filling — plus, there’s actually pie

TAMPA — A lonely and changeable sky illuminates the top of the stage through most of Waitress, running this week at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The neon lettering of Joe’s Diner reflects days and nights that don’t differ en...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay: Jeff Dunham, Victor Wooten and Sinbad perform jazz

PUPPET MASTER: Jeff DunhamCelebrated ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is no dummy. The record-breaking comedy superstar sells out arenas around the world, bringing along his ill-behaved puppets including grouchy Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

NOW OPEN: TEX-MEX CHAIN CHUY’SThe Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opened its first Tampa restaurant on Tuesday, giving away free Chuy’s for two for a year to the first 50 customers. I know, we missed it, it’s a bummer, but we can still visit...
Updated: 4 hours ago
We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

When Tampa International Airport debuted in 1971, each terminal had a newsstand and a snack bar, called something kicky like Snack Bar.
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fleetwood Mac coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Fleetwood Mac coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Before Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham came to Ruth Eckerd Hall last fall, Buckingham said Fleetwood Mac was mapping out a tour for 2018 and beyond. And he fully expected to be a part of it."Fleetwood Mac is absolutely a dysfunctional family, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

This week’s best concerts: Flo Rida, Queens of the Stone Age, Bay 2 Beach Festival and more

ROCK ROYALTY: Queens of the Stone AgeWhen Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme got in trouble recently for kicking a photographer at a show, local fans might have seen it coming. During a gig here in 2014, a fan got up on stage and tried to gree...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jobsite cues up ‘1984,’ ‘50 Shades’ parody’s Danielle Trzcinski premieres ‘Little Black Dress’

Jobsite cues up ‘1984,’ ‘50 Shades’ parody’s Danielle Trzcinski premieres ‘Little Black Dress’

MINISTRY OF JOBSITE: 1984When selecting an adaptation for George Orwell’s 1984 (there have been a few of them), Jobsite Theater had to strike the most controversial one off the list. That version by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan ran for 125 perfor...
Updated: 4 hours ago