If you're a fan of mild-mannered dramedies about small-town life, you could do a lot worse than Diggers. Scripted by television actor Ken Marino -- he also plays the main dramatic role and plays it well -- the film centers on the trials and tribulations of a community of blue-collar clam-diggers in mid-70s Long Island. There's a big corporate entity that is moving in on the island and intends to squeeze the locals out of the clam business once and for all. Some of them, like Hunt (Paul Rudd) are thinking of shaking up their lives, trying their luck in the big city and starting new relationships, while others like Lozo (Marino) are reluctant to embrace any kind of change, small or large. Lozo is such a traditionalist, in fact, that his old-fashioned view of the world ends up setting the stage for the film's most effective scene, a confrontation with his wife over her desire to end a pregnancy she doesn't want. Women's rights and Jaws references -- this is a film 70s-lovers can really warm to.
Maura Tierney, most known from TV's ER, plays Gina, the central female character. She's a sister to Hunt and love interest to a local do-nothing called Jack (Ron Eldard) and is a general anchor-character of the story -- one that all the other characters sort of swirl around. In fact, one of the things Diggers usually does well is to make most of the significant characters seem like they are the central character whenever its time for their story to kick into gear. A lot of thought clearly went into the film's structuring, which is refreshing. The mixture of comedy and drama is a little more uncertain, though -- some scenes feel like the script said 'comedic hijinks ensue at this point' and the actors sort of had to wing it. The comedy gets a little too physical for my taste. Marino has certainly shown here that he has the chops to write a real story with real dramatic and comedic moments, and the film would have benefitted by leaving some of the artificial comedy on the cutting room floor.