Joe Checklist, who co-wrote the screenplay, stars as Jeff. He lives in New York Metropolis, is a few years into restoration, has a secure relationship along with his girlfriend Beth (Sarah Tollemache, Checklist’s real-life accomplice), and is at a degree the place he feels assured sufficient to start mentoring different folks in restoration. However he suffers recurring nightmares about injuring pedestrians along with his automobile, inflicting them to flee earlier than he can discover out who they’re or discern how badly they have been damage. Louis C.Ok. performs the therapist that Joe tells about his dream. (Make of that what you’ll.) Jeff would not like speaking about his household. And he makes a degree of refusing to talk of his mom. The topic of his upbringing is a minefield he will not dare enter.
The movie takes its candy time attending to the purpose the place Jeff chases private catharsis by driving upstate to his hometown in rural Maine to confront his father (Robert Walsh), mom (Paula Plum) and prolonged household (which embrace Nick Di Paolo as an uncle and Richard O’Rourke as Jeff’s grandfather). They are a gaggle of reactionaries who greet Jeff’s arrival with a torrent of informal homophobia and different bigoted sentiments and make the one Black particular person on the occasion, the lately widowed Naomi (Tara Pacheco), really feel uncomfortable by calling consideration to her race and her latest tragedy. Jeff is depressing of their presence, as nicely he ought to be, however he nonetheless feels obligated to face them and pressure them to look at their function in damaging his psyche.
However by that time within the movie, we could have already given up hope of seeing a narrative about household instructed with perception, wit, and originality. C.Ok. and Checklist spend without end and a day on little vignettes about Jeff’s life with Beth (which is bland) and his restoration group, and there are scenes exploring his work as a stay musician that do not contribute something to our understanding of the characters (although it is good to see stay jazz carried out onscreen at size, even when the piano fakery is clear).
As soon as Jeff will get upstate, the listless self-indulgence continues, with pointlessly fussy cutaway modifying (notably throughout piano scenes) and expressionistic lighting (inexperienced signifies nervousness or one thing). These and different filmmaking instruments (together with the widescreen imagery) appear meant to enrich a skinny story that clearly meant an important deal to the individuals who wrote it. However the sum of “Fourth of July” has the identical impact on the viewer as being trapped at a celebration with a pleasant however uninteresting one who decides to inform you their whole life story with out even asking your title.