Domestic Disturbance [2001]

If you focus on the effective casting of John Travolta and Vince Vaughan, Domestic Disturbance may grab your attention as a thriller that hits too close to home. After playing a greasy villain in Swordfish, Travolta ably serves up the good-guy charm as a divorced father who must rescue his teenage son from a murderous new stepfather, played by Vaughan with bad-tempered relish. Director Harold Becker is worthy of better material (like his earlier hit Sea of Love), but he handles this B-movie potboiler with professional flair, particularly in the setup involving an accomplice (the ever-reliable Steve Buscemi) who threatens to destroy Vaughan's small-town respectability. The plot's about as plausible as Britney Spears in a remake of Sophie's Choice, relying heavily on lame-brained cops and vast chasms in logic, but by the time Travolta and Vaughan engage in their inevitable showdown, even childless viewers may feel a twinge of parental instinct. --Jeff Shannon

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