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flick pick | Diamond Men 2001
Directed + written by: Dan Cohen
Starring: Robert Forster, Donnie Wahlberg, Jasmine Guy, Bess Armstrong
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: feel-good 
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis Eddie Miller has spent the last three decades of his life as a traveling diamond salesman. His clients are curmudgeonly independent jewelers in small Pennsylvania towns; he's known them for years, developing relationships with them that go beyond just business. Eddie's a good salesman who knows that taking the time to get to know his customers is the key to success. Unfortunately, after Eddie has a heart attack, his company informs him that he's become too expensive to insure. (When you're carrying hoards of diamonds in your briefcase, insurance is a big, big deal.) Eddie finds himself on the verge of losing the job to which he has devoted most of his life. His schmuck of a boss basically informs him that they'll keep him on long enough to train a new salesman. The new guy turns out to be a cocky youngster named Bobby, who pulls up to work on his first day in a flashy red sports car, rock-n-roll blaring. Old-fashioned, jazz-loving Eddie is not impressed, and his opinion doesn't improve when he sees that Bobby's overbearing sales approach is a disaster on the road. For all his bravado, however, Bobby's not a bad guy at heart, and he soon realizes that he has a lot to learn from Eddie's quiet, steady ways. Slowly, Eddie manages to mold Bobby into a fine diamond man, even as he shakes his head in bewilderment at Bobby's womanizing. Eddie still hasn't recovered from the loss of his wife a year ago, and has pretty much resigned himself to living out his remaining days all alone. As a real friendship develops between the two salesmen, Bobby begins to realize he can teach the lonely widower a few things as well.

Review How can you not love Robert Forster? The man just looks so gosh-darn kind and trustworthy, even while his eyes seem to reveal that he's seen a lifetime of sadness. There's something reassuringly solid about his presence; even when he's not saying a word -- which, come to think of it, is often -- you just feel better knowing he's there on-screen. As an actor, Forster is earnest without being a sap, likable without having to turn on the charm. In short, he makes any movie worth watching -- and in the character-driven Diamond Men, he's found the perfect vehicle to showcase his undeniable talent. That Forster is wonderful as Eddie should come as no surprise to anyone who saw the actor in Jackie Brown; far more surprising is that he's well-matched by Donnie Wahlberg as Bobby. The former New Kid offers the perfect balance of annoying arrogance and genuine affability; in a role you could easily imagine his brother Mark inhabiting, Donnie proves that though he's not the Wahlberg that's getting the big bucks, it's not for lack of talent. The first half of the film ambles along nicely like a long road trip with no real destination, and when the plot does eventually kick into gear, the movie begins to stumble a bit. The plot twists aren't nearly as surprising as they're supposed to be, and for the most part, I found myself wishing it would just get back to concentrating on the relationship between the two main characters. Ultimately, however, Dan Cohen's low-budget indie is a very satisfying buddy flick that offers fine acting, excellent characterizations, and good dialogue. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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