Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) is just about “down-for-the count.” His wife has recently died from cancer, and he was just notified that his son, Larry Jr., was killed in Iraq while serving in the Marines. Doc needs to accompany his son’s body to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be given a hero’s burial.
Doc can’t handle this mission all by himself, so he recruits two of his Viet Nam Marine Corp buddies to help him out, even though he hasn’t seen either of them for decades. Sal (Bryan Cranston) is single without any children. He owns a bar – which comes in handy, since he’s an alcoholic. “Mueller,” once a hellion, has morphed into Rev. Richard (Laurence Fishburne). Many years ago, he discovered Christ and has lived an exemplary life ever since then.
Washington (J. Quinton Johnson), an active Marine Corp soldier, is required to accompany the body, so he joins up with the other three. Washington was Larry Jr.’s best friend in Iraq. Just about all of the movie involves the four leads interacting with each other while transporting Larry Jr.’s body to its final resting place.
The Director (Richard Linklater) gets excellent performances from the four leads, especially Cranston, who is light-years away from his character of Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” The screenplay gets increasingly interesting as each of the character’s conflicts are gradually revealed. The film is about 20 minutes too long and a few scenes drag, but most of the movie is quite engaging. Although primarily a drama, there’s plenty of humor too.
On the whole it’s a good movie. If you see it I doubt that your interest will “flag”.