Maze

Like THE TIC CODE and NIAGARA NIAGARA, this well-intentioned film revolves around the difficulties faced by people with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by inappropriate vocalizing (mostly disconcerting clucking and popping sounds, rather than the barrage of curse words that characterize comic takes on the disorder), physical twitching...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Like THE TIC CODE and NIAGARA NIAGARA, this well-intentioned film revolves around the difficulties faced by people with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by inappropriate vocalizing (mostly disconcerting clucking and popping sounds, rather than the barrage of curse words that characterize comic takes on the disorder), physical twitching and, often, insomnia and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Directed, starring and co-written and co-produced by Rob Morrow (of TV's Northern Exposure), it involves three friends caught up in an awkward romantic tangle, further complicated by the fact that one is pregnant and another has Tourette's. Longtime friends Lyle (Rob Morrow) and Mike (Craig Sheffer) both live in downtown Manhattan, but lead very different lives. Mike, an idealistic doctor, is driven by the need to save the world, while Lyle, an artist, has quite enough on his hands looking out for himself. Because Lyle's Tourette's symptoms are often misinterpreted as signs of mental illness, drug addiction or just plain weirdness, and because they're greatly exacerbated by any kind of stress, he has few friends and seldom dates. Mike lives with Callie (Laura Linney), who works in fashion photography and is as generous of spirit as she is beautiful; Lyle, Mike and Calle socialize often. Then Mike decides to take a seven-month assignment in war-torn Burundi, and Callie — who's just discovered that she's pregnant, but hasn't yet told Mike — decides she's had enough. She delivers an ultimatum: If Mike goes to Burundi, they're through. Mike goes. Faced with the possibility of raising a child alone, Callie comes to rely on Lyle, who throws himself into the role of caring and supportive friend. Inevitably, Lyle and Callie become more than friends, setting the stage for an explosive confrontation when Mike returns home. First-time feature director Morrow was inspired by TWITCH AND SHOUT, a 1993 documentary about living with Tourette's, and his performance as Lyle is sympathetic and unexploitative. (He also played a character with Tourette's in the indie feature Other Voices.) In addition to duplicating the disorder's characteristic tics and vocalizations, Morrow uses digital video to evoke a stuttering perception of the world. The love story is pretty conventional stuff, but Linney's finely calibrated, low-key performance as Callie goes a long way toward making it more interesting than it might otherwise have been.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Like THE TIC CODE and NIAGARA NIAGARA, this well-intentioned film revolves around the difficulties faced by people with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by inappropriate vocalizing (mostly disconcerting clucking and popping sound… (more)

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