Early in God’s Pocket, John Turturro and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman climb into a meat truck to grapple with the carcases, as blue collar types will do. Their director is fellow actor John Slattery, best known as roué Roger Sterling in TV’s Mad Men. Departing Madison Avenue, he transports his cast to 1983, and a rough-hewn neighbourhood of Philadelphia, a world of row houses and corner delis where everyone who’s anyone is into Sal for 20 large.
The rest is a shaggy dog number in which a suspicious death and the price of coffins causes mayhem. For all its vim, the film tries to have its steak and eat it by scolding those who patronise the working man – then getting him drunk and watching him fall over. You’ll be glad Hoffman has other films to be released, for his part here as a doltish husband is thankless. His wife is played by Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. The movie never tires of her tight raspberry dress, but she comes undone amid the slapstick. Older viewers will chuckle at an era when local newspaper columnists had the clout to attract women. Younger viewers will wonder: “Local newspapers?”