Divorced from her abusive alcoholic husband for ten years, Rita Ronaldi (Callie Thorne) is a relentlessly upbeat single mom, whose constant, almost irritating optimism nearly covers up that painful and traumatic past. Nearly, but not completely. It can’t, for instance erase the existence of Bret (Noah Fleiss), a streetwise punk fathered by her ex who befriends Rita’s geeky and asthmatic son Matt (Rufus Read). Quitting her waitress job after enduring one a*s-grab too many, Rita finds herself pummeled by the duel stresses of financial insecurity and the desperate, almost obsessive need to keep Bret’s identity a secret from his half-brother. It’s only when Rita lands a self worth-challenging job as a meter maid that she finds the inner strength to let her son grow up, comes to terms with her past and, as a result, opens herself up to the possibility of life and love.
At various times a giggly romantic comedy, an endearing coming of age buddy movie and a gripping family drama, this peculiar film from Stephen Kinsella suffers both from never quite figuring out what it wants to be and from not being sure whose story it wants to tell. Kinsella and Paul Solberg’s script simply relies far too much on coincidence to propel the story forward: Not only does Thorne simply try too hard to be loved as Rita, apparently she must also be the only maid in town, because if the plot needs a nudge, then by God, she’s gonna give a key character a parking ticket! Most disturbing of all is Kinsella’s queasy smile and wink treatment of Bret’s juvenile delinquency. Not to be a prude or anything, but thirteen year-old kids selling drugs, piercing private parts, and having sex is not a cutesy laughing matter. Though “Double Parked” ultimately winds up as an affirming tribute to parental love and affection in the face of adversity, it simply takes too many careless narrative liberties along the way to be an enjoyable ride.