‘Linoleum’ Review: The Final Twist Justifies Almost Everything That Distracts or Impedes This Hard-to-Describe Drama
Joe Leydon Film Critic “Linoleum” starts out as one kind of movie, drops teasing hints that it might be another type of film and ultimately plot-twists into, well, something else. All of which makes it difficult to review, much less describe in detail, without spilling an economy size bag of beans. But wait, there’s more: It’s also a movie that, not unlike “The Usual Suspects” or “Jacob’s Ladder,” likely will drive some viewers to opt for an instant replay after closing credits roll by, to see if that final twist actually does a watertight job of answering and explaining. Why? To quote a line of dialogue repeated almost as a mantra throughout the proceedings: It’s not that simple. Jim Gaffigan impressively manages the tricky task of serving simultaneously as sympathetic protagonist and unreliable narrator while portraying Cameron Edwin, a once promising scientist and astronaut wannabe who’s nearing 50 while weighed down with a multitude of reasons for a full-blown midlife crisis. The “Bill Nye the Science Guy”-style children’s TV show he hosts for a Ohio station has been banished to a midnight timeslot; Erin (Rhea Seehorn), his wife and former co-host, wants a divorce before she moves away to accept an aerospace museum job in another city; Nora (Katelyn Nacon), his teenage daughter, has started addressing him by his first name as she’s caught up with her own identity issues; and Mac (Roger Hendricks Simon), his retired scientist father, is losing ground in his battle against dementia in an elderly care facility, despite the best efforts of his watchful doctor (Tony Shalhoub).