The Daytrippers Review: Greg Mottola Indie Darling Falls Just Shy of Being a Great Early Career Movie

Review: Even if The Daytrippers struggles to evolve due to sluggish pacing and typical genre tropes, it’s still worth your time to see early Greg Mottola work his magic. Excellent direction, and a starry cast, manages to keep the movie afloat.

The Daytrippers Movie Parker Posey Hope Davis
“The Daytrippers”

The Daytrippers is a charming indie film that follows a dysfunctional family as they embark on a day trip to New York City. The film boasts an impressive cast, including Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis, Liev Schreiber, and Parker Posey, who deliver strong performances that bring the characters to life.

The movie follows Eliza (Hope Davis) as she embarks on a day trip to New York City with her dysfunctional family in search of her husband, who she suspects of infidelity. Along the way, they encounter a cast of quirky characters and confront their own relationship issues, leading to a cathartic and emotional journey of self-discovery.

One of the standout features of The Daytrippers is its talented ensemble cast, featuring notable actors such as Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Anne Meara, Liev Schreiber, and Parker Posey. Each member of the cast delivers a strong performance that brings their character to life and adds depth to the story.

Hope Davis, in particular, shines as the protagonist Eliza, a smart and sensitive woman who is struggling to come to terms with her husband’s possible infidelity. Davis’s nuanced performance captures the complexity of Eliza’s emotions, and her subtle facial expressions and body language convey the character’s inner turmoil effectively.

Stanley Tucci is excellent as Louis, Eliza’s husband, whose possible infidelity sets the story in motion. Tucci portrays Louis with a mix of charm and ambiguity, leaving the audience uncertain of his motives and adding tension to the film’s central conflict.

Parker Posey, meanwhile, steals scenes as Jo, Eliza’s eccentric sister who tags along on the day trip to New York City. Posey brings a manic energy to her role, infusing every line with a sense of unpredictability and wit that makes her character a delight to watch. She’s particularly good in scenes where she’s bouncing off other characters, playing off their reactions to her outrageous behavior.

One of the most noticeable aspects of The Daytrippers is its slow pacing. The movie moves at a leisurely pace, with long stretches of dialogue-heavy scenes that lack any real action or forward momentum. This can make it difficult for viewers to stay engaged with the story, as there is a lack of tension or excitement.

The slow pacing is particularly evident in the movie’s early scenes, which are largely focused on introducing the characters and setting up the premise. We see the main character, Eliza, discovering a love letter from her husband that leads her to suspect he may be having an affair. From there, she embarks on a day trip to New York City with her family in tow, hoping to confront him and get some answers.

While this setup has the potential for some real tension and conflict, the movie takes its time getting there. Instead of building momentum and increasing the stakes, the story meanders through a series of conversations and interactions that don’t really move the plot forward. Even when the characters do start to confront their issues and conflicts arise, the pacing remains slow and deliberate, with long pauses between lines and shots that linger for longer than necessary.

This slow pacing can be frustrating for viewers who are looking for a more dynamic or engaging film. It can also make the movie feel longer than its relatively short runtime, as the lack of momentum can make it feel like it’s dragging on. While some viewers may appreciate the deliberate pacing as a way to focus on the characters and their interactions, others may find it tedious and uninteresting.

Greg Mottola‘s direction in The Daytrippers is understated and subtle, with a focus on character and dialogue-driven scenes that highlight the film’s excellent cast. Mottola, who also wrote the screenplay, has a talent for capturing the nuances of everyday life, and his direction reflects this.

One of the most noticeable aspects of Mottola’s direction is his use of long, static shots that allow the actors to take center stage. He’s not afraid to linger on a scene or let the actors play out a conversation without any cuts, which gives the film a naturalistic feel. This approach also highlights the film’s excellent script, allowing the actors to showcase their talents in a way that feels genuine and unforced.

Reviews for Movies like The Daytrippers (1996)

Mottola’s direction also captures the essence of New York City, showcasing some of its iconic landmarks and hidden gems. He uses the city as a backdrop for the characters’ journey, emphasizing the energy and excitement of the city while also highlighting its isolation and loneliness. This juxtaposition adds depth to the film, providing a sense of place that enriches the story.

Mottola’s direction in The Daytrippers is a testament to his skills as a filmmaker. He’s able to capture the nuances of character and dialogue and create a sense of place that enriches the story. It’s a subtle and understated approach that serves the material well and showcases the talents of the film’s excellent cast.

The Daytrippers is widely considered an indie darling, a term used to describe independent films that gain critical acclaim and a dedicated following despite their relatively low budget and limited distribution. The film’s success is due in large part to its excellent performances and distinctive style, all of which have helped it to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The Daytrippers has gained a devoted following over the years, with many fans praising the film’s quirky charm and unique voice. Its status as an indie darling has helped it to stand the test of time, ensuring that it remains a beloved film for many years to come.


Genre: Comedy, Drama

Watch The Daytrippers (1996) on Max, The Criterion Channel, and VOD here

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Film Cast and Crew

The Daytrippers


Hope Davis as Eliza D’Amico

Pat McNamara as Jim Malone

Anne Meara as Rita Malone

Parker Posey as Jo Malone

Liev Schreiber as Cal Petrovic

Campbell Scott as Eddie Masier

Stanley Tucci as Louis D’Amico


Director: Greg Mottola

Writer: Greg Mottola

Cinematography: John Inwood

Editor: Anne McCabe

Composer: Richard Martinez

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