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Wed March 27, 2002
"When they say 'No,' they're looking for a way to say 'Yes.'"...
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
These guys are diamonds in the rough -— Robert Forster, an aging traveling diamond salesman, and Donnie Wahlberg, the slacker trainee. "Diamond Men" is much less like Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in "Training Day" and just a bit like Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber in "Spring Forward." This unlikely team develops a respect and caring that are palpable, right down to Wahlberg fixing up the recently-widowed Forster with the heart-of-gold masseuse.
What happens to the lovers and the buddies has been told many times before, and the twist is not new territory. Yet the sweetness in the way they treat each other is refreshingly new. An undertone of love and respect allows the reclusive Forster to embrace Wahlberg’s energy, while Wahlberg stops calling Forster "old" and learns some valuable professional and life lessons, as when Forster tells him how to make a tough sale: "When they say 'No,' they're looking for a way to say 'Yes.'" Forster's new lover helps him see beyond her past and his suddenly complicated present; Wahlberg's life begins a slow ascent up the maturity ladder because of Forster; someday Wahlberg may stop wearing leopard-skinned underwear.
The ending is straight out of Elmore Leonard -- the location and resolution are breezy and benign. What have survived are love and a renewed sense of life’s possibilities. Diamonds turn out to be everyone’s best friend.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and vice-chairs The Film Council of Greater Columbus.