Night of the White Pants stars Tom Wilkinson as a depressed, bored millionaire in the middle of an ugly divorce. He's got a heart condition, he's alienated from his two grown children, and his business interests are going down the shitter. Then, for reasons far too complex to adequately explain here, he joins Nick Stahl for a night of sex, drugs, and petty larceny. In doing so, he discovers the meaning of life and love. Cocaine, too! White Pants bills itself as a "punk rock fable," and that brooks comparisons to a lot of other movies Suburbia, Velvet Goldmine, and Hedwig & The Angry Inch. But while those films induce thrills by showing us extraordinary people in extraordinary situations, White Pants does the opposite: It looks for the sublime in the pedestrian, which is about as good a working definition of "punk" as you can get. Tom Wilkinson is not a transgendered Berliner he's just an old man in his underwear, and he's about as loveable as your three favorite chords. That said, White Pants suffers from a certain fuzziness. The supporting characters are never developed, and whereas other "punk rock" flicks titillate with smart dialogue and hot music, this tries warming the heart with a feel-goodish moral. Which is a little more "Blink-182" than "Sex Pistols," if you think about it, but you probably shouldn't. Misguided good intentions don't make Tom Wilkinson's first bathroom bump any less exciting. (Saturday, November 4, 3 p.m. at Parker Playhouse; 87 minutes.)
Brandon K. Thorp
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Night of the White Pants
November 2, 2006 | 4:00am|