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Film review: ‘At Any Price’

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Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid and Kim Dickens are hopelessly lost in the dismal At Any Price.
Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Details

At Any Price
One and a half stars
Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens
Directed by Ramin Bahrani
Rated R
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: At Any Price
Rotten Tomatoes: At Any Price

Following his lovely Goodbye Solo, Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price is an awkward, baffling failure. Playing corn farmer Henry Whipple, who sells genetically manufactured seeds for a big corporation, Dennis Quaid manages some touching moments of humanity under his character’s smarmy snake oil. The rest of the cast, including Heather Graham, seems unnaturally overpitched and rushed. The only exception is Zac Efron. As Henry’s arrogant, petulant son who wants to race cars, Efron responds to every situation with a dead-eyed, robotic stare. It wouldn’t be surprising if Bahrani had been forced to cut his movie around this hopeless performance. Several plot threads, especially the racing one, seem clumsily dropped, and a potentially interesting tough-girl character (Maika Monroe) is likewise abandoned. At Any Price seems bent on saying something about the plight of corn farmers, and its best moments adhere to this message, but in the end, good storytelling and moviemaking are sacrificed.

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