Robert De Niro unloads his gnarly, scowling, old-crank routine again as a self-deluded “genius,” sort of Travis Bickle of Taxi Driver as a nutty dirtball. His son (moon-eyed Paul Dano) dislikes him but helps him at a homeless shelter. Marginal in Paul Weitz’s moody, drifting film are Julianne Moore and Lili Taylor, though Olivia Thirlby is touchingly credible as a relief worker. The movie feels like a weak attempt to popularize Joe Gould’s Secret. 2012.

2.0 stars

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