Dr. David Cook, “mental game expert” and author of “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia,” promotes his sports spiritual how-to seminars and retreats by co-scripting and co-producing a corn syrupy drama that pairs a young hotshot with daddy issues with an old burnout with drinking issues. Set and partly shot in tiny Utopia, Texas, “Seven Days in Utopia” starts with golfer Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) crashing his car on a country road. As he waits for parts, the up-and-comer gets his soul and swing repaired by a crusty retired pro golfer, local rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall). Each day Johnny guides Luke through another visualizing and self-actualizing exercise. Luke’s long-simmering rage against his dad-coach-caddy recently exploded during a televised tournament. Replays of that outburst and flashbacks to a loveless boyhood spell out the emotional cliches. The uplifting plot will heal Luke via a reverie on fireflies and verses from the Bible. Matthew Dean Russell directs with eye-rolling earnestness. With Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll, Brian Geraghty, Jerry Ferrera, Joseph Lyle Taylor. 98m. (Bill Stamets)
“Seven Days In Utopia” opens Friday at Skokie Village Crossing, Woodridge, Yorktown, Orland Park, Streets of Woodfield.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.