Have Mercy: Sonny Corleone’s Kid Makes Good

Sonny Corleone‘s kid has finally done it: Scott Caan, son of “Godfather” actor James Caan, has made his own movie. And it’s pretty good.

Caan wrote and produced “Mercy,” which closed the GenArt Film Festival last night. IFC will release the film on April 28th, directed by Patrick Hoelke.Troy Garity, Erika Christensen and Wendy Glenn co-star.

What’s interesting about “Mercy” is that it’s a romantic comedy (with a little melodrama) told from the male perspective. Maybe this is a trend. Josh Radnor‘s film “happythankyoumoreplease,” which was at Sundance this year, is similar.

“Mercy” is very romantic, and Caan–who couldn’t get released from shooting “Entourage” in L.A. to be at last night’s premiere–makes for a sympathetic hero. It doesn’t hurt that halfway through he adds his dad to the mix. When James Caan appears on the screen, the movie ticks upward immediately. You want to see what he’s going to do about all this mushy love stuff.

Hoelke is an odd duck who dresses a little like Fidel Castro. But he’s smart in keeping the film intimate (not shaky camera, don’t worry). And he gets a great performance out of Garity, who has goofy leading man looks and a great unexpected sense of humor that lightens Caan’s character’s moroseness. (Garity is ready for a breakout lead role in an indie comedy.) There’s also some welcome relief when the going gets tough from John Boyd. And Wendy Glenn is a real find.

Why wasn’t “Mercy” in Sundance or Tribeca? I have no idea. It’s certainly good enough. I haven’t liked an IFC film this much since “Lonesome Jim” or “Me and You and Everyone I Know.”

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