Review: Ben Affleck, Little Else, Makes ‘The Tender Bar’ Worth a Drop-In

At some point, we should probably start to worry about George Clooney’s career as a director. 

After showing promise in Confessions of A Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck. his films have vacillated between mediocre (Leatherheads) and the truly terrible (Suburbicon). 

Thankfully, his latest, The Tender Bar, falls on the mediocre side of the continuum. But only thankful in comparison. 

The Tender Bar is the tale of JR (Daniel Ranieri as a kid, Tye Sheridan late teens into adulthood, Ron Livingston in voice-over as some even more adult version). 

When his mom (Lily Rabe) can no longer afford to live on her own while JR’s absentee dad (Max Martini) continues to stonewall child support, she and JR move back to her childhood home with Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd) and Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck). 

Charlie owns a bar (hence the title) with a loose literary theme called Dickens. There, JR learns the rules of being a good man, reads every book in the place, and decides to become a writer.