Doug (James Gandolfini) is a middle-aged man from the Midwest. He’s been married to his wife, Lois (Melissa Leo) for 30-some-odd years. Their marriage seems to be a casualty of the decades. Gone is the passion and the fire – so much that Doug has been getting his kicks from a local waitress named Vivian (Eisa Davis).

Sadly, Viv kicks the bucket, leaving Doug with a heaping dose of reality. What’s a desperate husband to do? He heads to New Orleans and seeks to lose himself in the city during a work convention. While there, Doug meets a teenage stripper named Mallory (Kristen Stewart). Conventional wisdom sets its odds on the young girl entering into a salacious affair with her latest customer. But Doug has other plans. He decides to leave Lois and stay with Mallory to help her clean up her life. This prompts wifey to do a little soul-searching of her own. She hops into Doug’s Caddy and heads to the Big Easy to get her man. Their reunion is sweet until she meets Doug’s pet project. Lois realizes that Mallory is Doug’s attempt to regain parental control after the untimely death of their own 15-year-old daughter, Emily.

Welcome to the Rileys is a kind representation of the human condition, with all its complexities. Gandolfini shows that he is a fine actor who can play a Bible Belt-dweller just as easily as a shady Italian gangster. Partnered with Leo, he also exhibits his generosity as a performer. Leo is stunning and miraculous as the agoraphobic housewife. Her sex appeal is also a gentle undercurrent that adds a lot to the storyline. But it’s Stewart whose extracurricular Twilight work will be her saving grace. What a charming and gritty performance to add to a stellar resume consisting of films like Into the Wild and Panic Room. Mallory is a smut-mouthed brat at times; a wounded puppy at others. Stewart is perhaps the only actress on the scene who is awkward enough to handle the sexuality with respect to the characters.

The only bummer about Welcome to the Rileys is its ending. It kind of mimicked that old game from the “The Price Is Right” where the little mountain man falls off the cliff suddenly and without warning. I’m all for typical indie film endings but come on! So much of the film was lyrical and special that it deserved a better send-off than it got.

Grade: B

Welcome to the Rileys releases in select theaters Oct. 29.