Where it gains points is in the incredibly human and believable story it tells: it's a tautly-written and well-paced story of ill-fated love that sweeps you up and holds you tightly in its grasp.
In all, it's Scott Caan's best crack at a contemporary Clint Eastwood film, and it tells a well-acted little story about a volatile writer and the fragility of all that we love in life. It didn't quite dig deeply enough into the central couple's conflicting vocations - author and book reviewer - but as a study of its central character, I really enjoyed it.
John is a womanizing author who writes about love. At the party for his third book, he meets a woman he cannot resist, and who happens to be the one harsh critic of said third book. A relationship ensues, and the lovely Wendy Glenn is convincing in her role as a smart, alluring woman. John agrees, changing his ways because of his newfound love. The story is not told chronologically, allowing a little mystery to further the story.
I was pretty impressed and was suprised to see so many people didn't like the movie. I thought there were several good scenes that really depicted emotion and love. Other shots were just great...traveling down a coastal highway together in a classic Benz convertible? Almost cliche, but appealing nonetheless. Caan channels bits of his prior douchebag characters, and even a little of his father's gangster characters. James also makes an appearance as John's father. In the end, I actually like Caan's character some, or at least understood him. The friend was also pretty cool and has a great voice. Let the haters hate, but I enjoyed it.
"Mercy" is a frustrating near miss of a movie and Scott Caan deserves the praise and blame for that. He is a very good actor who makes the new and not necessarily improved "Hawaii Five-O"(where he also plays a character who has a thing for tall English women) much better than it has a right to be and is excellent in "Mercy."(As long as I am in this part of the critical woods, I also recommend "Dallas 362.") But as a writer, he does not fare as well. The story flows smoothly until it reaches a point where it does not know what else to do except get unnecessarily tricky and play the largest cliche in the deck, dragging it out in excruciating fashion. It is a shame because there are some interesting thoughts here on the differences between a public persona and the private person, with the perils of judging harshly. I'll excuse the fact that the lead character is a writer since he uses a manual typewriter but remember critics are people and writers, too.