Peter Facinelli looks a little like the young Tom Cruise: same slightly rabbity smile that radiates a sense of both supreme confidence and gnawing insecurity.
Facinelli has a wider face with more prominent cheekbones but he has the same athletic physicality and a looseness that Cruise has lost. Forget the weirdly anesthetized version of Facinelli in the Twilight series. Instead, watch Facinelli on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie to get a sense of his comic timing and his ability to play the butt of jokes.
Or watch him in the indy film Loosies, opening in limited release (Jan. 11), which Facinelli stars in, wrote and produced. He had the good sense to bring Michael Corrente aboard to direct, which gives Loosies a street edge it might have lacked and which keeps it from being just another tale of a criminal's redemption.
The criminal, in this case, is Bobby (Facinelli), a pickpocket who works all over Manhattan, riding the subways, cruising the touristy sections of Wall Street, Grand Central and elsewhere, deftly dipping into purses and pockets, even as he seemingly is offering directions or apologizing for bumping into someone. He turns in his spoils to Jax (Vincent Gallo), Fagin to Bobby's Artful Dodger -- and the man who holds the note on the huge gambling debt Bobby's late father left behind.
As the movie opens, Bobby is seen casually sneaking out of the bed of a young woman, Lucy (Jaimie Alexander). But it's only several scenes into the movie before the audience -- and Bobby -- sees her again, when he bumps into her in the Financial District.
She recognizes him first, but he plays along: He meant to call, yada yada -- until she points out that the cell number he gave her was dead when she tried to reach him and that he never did, in fact, call. Then she drops the bombshell: She is three months' pregnant and the child is his.
As it happens, Bobby is fed up with the life he's in and hoping to start fresh. In what? He doesn't know -- but he sees this as a turning point. He follows up, chases her down to the bar where she worked when they met. He eventually convinces her that he wants to man up and be part of her decision of what to do with the child.
But even as he tries to figure out a new direction for his life, a net is closing on him.
This review continues on my website.