They say the guys who feel guilty about going to strip clubs are reminded of their daughters, or at least that the gals doing their thing are someone else's daughter. Though I doubt the Spearmint Rhino is going to lose any business after the release of Welcome To The Rileys. It is about one particular father, a grieving wife and the New Orleans "dancer" who is about the same age as their daughter was when she perished in a fiery car crash. Grasping onto surrogate family figures is not a new method of psychological healing in the cinema and Rileys certainly doesn't cover any new territory. But thanks to an earnest performance by James Gandolfini anchoring it, we can almost forget the weight of Kristen Stewart dragging it down with every hair flip and tug.
Gandolfini plays Doug Riley, successful in the plumbing racket, who leaves his agoraphobic wife, Lois (Melissa Leo) at home during his weekly poker game. Poker including cards, chips and the waitress who serves him waffles at the nearby diner. When another tragedy in his life brings him around to the cemetery where his daughter is buried, he notices that Lois has already bought their headstone. So, on a business trip to New Orleans, he announces to Lois that he is going to be spending some extra time down there. This decision is partially inspired by his wife pre-planning him for an early grave (as he reminds her), but also by meeting Mallory (Stewart). Naturally, that's not her stripper name.