Alpha Dog
If Justin is wearing a hooded sweatshirt, it must be cool.

Theatrical Release Date: 01/12/2007
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin, Ben Foster, Dominique Swain, Chris Marquette, Bruce Willis, Shawn Hatosy, Sharon Stone, Amanda Seyfried

What do you do next when you’ve just finished bringing “The Notebook” to tearful audiences across the world?

Well, if you’re writer/director Nick Cassavetes, you get half of the cast of “The O.C.” and tell your version of a case straight from the FBI 10 most wanted list.

“Alpha Dog” is Cassavetes version of what happened to a young man, allegedly caught up in the middle of a money matter between his brother and a drug dealer whose father had mafia ties.

I say allegedly because I don’t care.

I had heard this film was decent and showed certain actors, specifically Justin Timberlake, in a whole new dramatic light.

While I do admit Timberlake turned in a good performance, I don’t think it was so earth shatteringly different from any other role he might take on. So he put on a few fake tattoos and acted tough?

Just because it was opposite of the role he played in N’ Sync, that doesn’t make it award worthy.

As for the rest of the cast, their performances are equally as decent. No one really lets the film down and aside from Ben Foster’s impressive turn as a speed freak with a nasty temper, no one really stands out.

Of course, there is Sharon Stone to consider. As the mother of the kidnapped boy, by the end of the film she has donned a fat suit and appears larger than two Rosies put together … ewwww.

Honestly, the interview her character delivers at the end of the film, riddled with close-ups, nearly made me lose my dinner from a few hours before.

Nightmare inducing images aside, what really sinks this film is the half-ass job it does of being fictional and real all at the same time.

Cassavetes throws in on-screen text every time a new character is introduced to introduce them and their role in the subsequent trials. Also, it flitters back and forth between the aftermath and the events themselves like a badly narrated tall tale. The film had the tone of some A&E true crime story.

More than once towards the end, I thought about fast forwarding to the end so I could get to what was on my DVR.

Speaking of which, I won’t waste any more time.

I’m giving “Alpha Dog” a very generous 2 out of 5. The film drags out far too long, is riddled with ridiculously unneeded cameos like Bruce Willis and Alan Thicke and if it weren’t for the fairly strong performances from the cast, I’d easily hand out a lower rating.

Unless you’re studying the Jesse James Hollywood case in school or have a hard-on for one of the cast, you’re much better off finding the time to plant a garden or clean out your closet. I’m not falling for this movie again if it lands on a movie channel near me.