Many films have been made of this sort of nature. This is slightly the better ones that had a thought provoking story based on actual events leaving some of the acting to be questionable. This film is based on Jesse James Hollywood case in real life. The film takes place in the year 1999 and the director really captures it. The film feels very real. Jesse James Hollywood character kidnaps his friend's younger brother "Zack" because his older brother Jake Mazursky, played Ben Foster, owes money for drugs. Timberlake and the Jesse James H. character treat him with a good time with girls, beer, marijuana, and parties. "Zack is having a great time but Zacks parents are worried sick and Zacks older brother goes crazy trying to look for him to the point that he's about to pop a vain......seriously. At the same time Jesse James H. is so worried and does not know what to do.
The cast of this film seems to have been scientifically designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience. There are actors here that will bring in both those who prefer established Hollywood as well as young, pop stars with names familiar to the younger set. Some have roles that are little more than cameos but it is fun to try to pick them all out. Sharon Stone gives an uneven performance as Zach's worried mother. She's quite believable in a family dinner scene, then over the top and practically unrecognizable at the end of the film when trying to express the mother's feelings about the crime. Although Bruce Willis appears only briefly as Johnny's father, he convinces us of his enabling parental behavior. If I have to choose the only actors that stood out to me were Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, and Ben Foster who done a great job with his out bursting role. Timberlake gets across just the right mix of charm and dimwittedness to totally convince us in this film.
"Alpha Dog" does suffers some uneven direction, but Cassavetes has achieved a portrait of the type of youth spawned by a litigious, ethically lax society. The only issues I have with the movie are the fact that it's funnier than it should be, the tattoos all look way too new and bright to be real, and some of the split scene work was a little extemporaneous. Overall I really feel that I should have more to say about Alpha Dog but either A) It's not worth that many words or B) I'm losing my touch. But if I had to sum it up I would say that if Alpha Dog took itself a little more seriously you would have an excellent film. As it stands, it's worth a rental just to see Justin Timberlake grow as an actor and a really over the top (in a good way) performance from Ben Foster.