At first glance Tony McNamara‘s Ashby (Paramount, 9.25) seems like a loose rehash of Theodore Melfi‘s St. Vincent. Bill Murray played the suburban-residing, raggedy-ass social misfit in the latter while Mickey Rourke plays a slight variation (i.e., an ex-CIA guy) in Ashby. Women hover in both films. One difference is that the kid being uncle’d, watched over and mentored in Ashby is a high-schooler (Nat Wolff) rather than a 12 year-old.
“Ashby pairs a teen ready to come out of his shell (Nat Wolff) with a retired CIA killer (Mickey Rourke) who has hidden his conscience under a rock. Add an ador-a-nerd (Emma Roberts) whose dad keeps an MRI in the garage, and you have the makings of a winning film about reconciling one’s self-image with reality. Though already multiplex-friendly, the pic’s box office hopes with teens are helped by Wolff’s increased profile after the success of The Fault in Our Stars; though it isn’t near the vehicle The Wrestler was for Rourke, it gives the actor enough meat to please older viewers who lament his relegation to fanboy and straight-to-VOD fare.” — from John DeFore‘s Hollywood Reporter review, filed during last April’s Tribeca Film Festival.