The pretty-boy heir to a junkyard empire lands himself in high-society rehab after plunging off the George Washington Bridge.
When is a novelization not a novelization? When it’s a disjointed, tangentially interesting book produced “in tandem” with an indie film written, produced and directed by former Wall Street financier and author Klass (Man Overboard, 2006). The book will be released simultaneously with a romantic comedy starring Robert Vaughan, Dick Cavett, Christopher Lloyd and a host of veterans from Seinfeld and various daytime soaps. Plotwise, the book follows the film, centering on Daniel Topler, a wealthy, brilliant med student whose addiction to drugs and his own line of bullshit sends him teetering off the GWB. Mouthing off to the judge lands him in a silver-spoon rehab clinic where Daniel finds himself under the care of visiting physician Dr. Jacob Q. Bernstein. Daniel is full of quips, self-deprecating humor and cutting insights, none of which hold water with the troubled Bernstein. “Please stop,” Bernstein says. “I don’t believe you. You don’t have to defend yourself. I’m not attacking. You possess superior verbal abilities. But they’re not helping you. You use language as a weapon and a shield. But your only war is inside of you where words can’t help.” Interestingly, Klass shies away from his Good Will Hunting setup and forces Daniel to attend Bernstein’s men’s group, where he meets men of far greater character and accomplishments for whom growing old is a harsh mirror. There’s a good story hiding in here, including a risky romance between Daniel and Bernstein’s lovely daughter Laura, not to mention Ally, a funny fellow inmate who becomes obsessed with the quick-witted lunatic. Unfortunately, the main story is complicated by numerous superfluous plots about Daniel’s family and his drug buddies.
A fractured experiment in multiformat storytelling that reads like a vanity project.