The plot of Grind is a veritable encyclopedia of film-noir clichés. Billy Crudup plays the protagonist, a moody, ex-con drifter. After being released from prison, he moves in with his brother Paul Schultze, a working-class stiff working in a factory and living in a dumpy, blue-collar town with his sexually dissatisfied wife, Adrienne Shelly. As per film-noir tradition, Crudup repays his brother's generosity by having a torrid affair with his wife. Mixed in with the standard doomed-love-triangle plot is a superfluous subplot involving the brother's involvement with a stolen-car ring, and an even more unnecessary distraction involving Crudup's dream of becoming a stock-car racer. While Grind captures its blue-collar milieu with a certain amount of accuracy and conviction, it can't overcome its weak, predictable script and uneven performances. While Schultze does a decent job, Crudup looks and acts more like a slightly addled Gap model than a hardened drifter. As for the small, waifish Shelly, she's woefully miscast as the Kmart femme fatale. But even with a stronger actress playing the role, Grind would still have a difficult time amounting to anything but generic film-noir hackwork.

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