Capsule reviews for Aug. 4

Four Days in France

More reliant on mood than traditional storytelling, this deliberately paced oddity follows a gay man (Pascal Cervo) who abandons his lover (Arthur Igual) one morning in favor of an odyssey across the French countryside — prompted by social media — during which he meets various eccentrics. What the film lacks in narrative coherence and momentum, rookie director Jerome Reybaud compensates with a layered character study about sexuality and fulfillment, an incisive glimpse into its bucolic setting, and a sometimes playful examination of technology’s influence on relationships. Bolstered by Cervo’s performance, the result is intriguing if meandering, with its adventure providing a few unexpected turns along the way. (Not rated, 141 minutes).


Fun Mom Dinner

There’s not much fun to be had by anyone else, either on screen or off, with this thinly sketched addition to the subgenre of raunchy comedies about girls behaving badly. This installment finds four suburban mothers bonding over a night of cutting loose from the daily routine that includes plenty of weed, booze, mischief and wandering eyes, while their husbands and children bungle around at home. The familiar concept produces some scattered laughs (with a Paul Rudd cameo providing a highlight), but it’s neither edgy nor sincere enough to make an emotional impact. The spirited cast includes Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Katie Aselton and Bridget Everett. (Rated R, 81 minutes).



Halle Berry is much better at driving than she is at parenting in this lackluster child-abduction thriller. Berry plays Karla, a single mother locked in a custody battle when her 6-year-old son (Sage Correa) is kidnapped in a crowded city park, sending Karla into a frantic vigilante quest — behind the wheel of a red minivan — to find him. The resulting cat-and-mouse struggle tests her resiliency and resourcefulness. As directed by Luis Prieto (Pusher), the film is meant to pay tribute to the power of maternal instincts, but while Karla is a tough-minded heroine, the ill-conceived script lacks common sense and gradually becomes totally detached from reality. (Rated R, 94 minutes).


Some Freaks

What seems like an ordinary teenage comedy about cliques and bullying on the surface is actually a modestly perceptive and touching glimpse into the ways in which we transition from adolescence into adulthood. Specifically, it follows a pair of outcast classmates who fall in love — a boy with one eye (Thomas Mann) and an overweight goth girl (Lily Mae Harrington). After heading off to college, they struggle to keep their friendship together when their priorities change. The character-driven screenplay by rookie director Ian McDonald puts a fresh spin on familiar material and mostly sidesteps clichés, while the actors generate sympathy in the film’s quieter moments. (Rated R, 97 minutes).



You don’t have to be an aficionado of the art form known as stepping to find the crowd-pleasing appeal in this documentary about the female step team at an inner-city Baltimore charter school that becomes a safe haven for teenagers amid volatility in their families and community. It explores the influence of social unrest in Baltimore on the girls and their routines, which galvanizes a turnaround in the fledgling program. But rookie director Amanda Lipitz smartly keeps her focus behind the scenes, allowing us to root less for the team to grab a competition trophy and more for the steppers to graduate to a better life. (Rated PG, 82 minutes).