Capsule reviews for Sept. 1

A Boy Called Po

While overflowing with good intentions, this woefully contrived drama tackles autism, bullying, single parenting and the grieving process without providing sufficient insight into any of them. Po (Julian Feder) is an autistic preteen whose difficulties at school cause him to retreat into an imaginary world, and lead to behavior outbursts that put a severe strain on his father (Christopher Gorham), a widower who’s struggling at work while still mourning his wife’s death. As the obstacles accumulate and their relationship is threatened, the film turns heavy-handed and lacks subtlety, which tends to trivialize Po’s affliction rather than inviting the level of heartfelt sympathy it deserves. (Rated PG, 95 minutes).


Goon: Last of the Enforcers

A movie by hockey fans, for hockey fans, this sequel to the 2011 comedy retains only a fraction of the crude charm and offbeat originality of its predecessor. Seann William Scott returns as Doug, the rugged fan favorite of Canadian minor-league hockey known for fighting rather than scoring. However, when a serious injury threatens his career, he realizes that although his heart is still in the sport, his body is telling him to move on. The directorial debut of actor Jay Baruchel has equal doses of bittersweet nostalgia and sophomoric antics on and off the ice, yet takes its story and characters down a familiar path. (Rated R, 101 minutes).


I Do, Until I Don’t

While three couples strive for longevity in their marriages, moviegoers to this comedy are left to wonder why they want to stay together, and later, why they should care. In the latest directorial effort for actress Lake Bell (In a World), she also stars as a woman wondering if she can remain committed to a blinds salesman (Ed Helms) after buying into the bitterness of a cynical documentarian (Dolly Wells). Bell’s script, which becomes too chaotic and cluttered in weaving together its storylines, features some scattered laughs but not much authenticity or insight into contemporary relationships. The cast includes Amber Heard, Paul Reiser and Mary Steenburgen. (Rated R, 103 minutes).


The Layover

Completely detached from reality and devoid of laughs, this romantic comedy directed by accomplished actor William H. Macy is misguided in almost every way. It chronicles the travel misadventures of free-spirited Meg (Kate Upton) and her timid best friend Kate (Alexandra Daddario), whose impulsive Florida vacation gets diverted to St. Louis because of a hurricane. That’s where they begin stumbling over one another for the affections of a fellow passenger (Matt Barr). It’s impossible to suspend your disbelief to the level required by this crude and tasteless farce, which strains to be hip yet has an equally contemptuous view of both its characters and its audience. (Rated R, 88 minutes).


The Vault

This low-budget combination of heist thriller and horror saga might have an intriguing concept, but lacks the narrative dexterity that a successful genre mashup requires. The entire story surrounds a bank robbery engineered by Vee (Taryn Manning) and Leah (Francesa Eastwood), bickering sisters whose scheme to infiltrate a bank vault with the usual masks and firearms goes awry — in part because of a secret presence that’s been guarding the vault for decades. The intimate setting provides some chills, but as it transitions into supernatural nonsense as a vehicle for the requisite comeuppance, the film fails to provide consistent suspense. There’s not much bang for the buck. (Not rated, 91 minutes).


Viceroy’s House

The story of India’s independence deserves a deeper and more complex treatment than this shallow period drama from director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), which oversimplifies and embellishes some historical details about the Partition of India. That broader story is told through the conflicting perspectives of Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), the British viceroy sent in 1947 to oversee a post-colonial transition that requires some nimble negotiation with the locals, along with two romantically linked young members of his domestic staff who hail from opposite sides of the Hindi-Muslim religious divide. The film can’t grasp a consistent tone in its melodramatic depiction of true events. (Not rated, 106 minutes).