Streaming now: Don't Make Me Go

Don't Make Me Go stars John Cho as Max and Mia Isaac as Wally.
Don't Make Me Go stars John Cho as Max and Mia Isaac as Wally. Don't Make Me Go stars John Cho as Max and Mia Isaac as Wally.

Don't Make Me Go (Cert 15, 109 mins, streaming from July 15 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video)

Drama/Comedy/Romance. John Cho, Mia Isaac, Jemaine Clement, Kaya Scodelario, Jen Van Epps, Otis Dhanji.

INSURANCE salesman Max (John Cho) single-handedly raises a spirited teenage daughter, Wally (Mia Isaac), whose crush on a classmate (Otis Dhanji) creates friction between overly protective parent and child.

A doctor's appointment to diagnose the source of Max's headaches reveals a malignant bone tumour at the base of his skull.

Surgery is risky – there is just a 20 per cent chance that doctors can remove the tumour without Max sustaining brain stem damage or dying in theatre.

If he chooses to forego surgery, Max's life expectancy is around one year.

With the clock ticking and Wally blissfully unaware of her father's condition, Max convinces his daughter to accompany him to his 20th anniversary college reunion in Louisiana where he hopes to engineer a reunion between Wally and her biological mother (Jen Van Epps).

En route, Max delivers on the promise of driving lessons and Wally learns secrets about her old man's past.

Anchored by solid performances from Cho and Isaac, Don't Make Me Go is a tender character study that delivers on the promise of an opening voiceover: "You're not gonna like the way this story ends but I think you're gonna like this story."

It's true, the haphazard journey of director Hannah Marks's road trip is more satisfying than the ultimate destination.

Screenwriter Vera Herbert mines gentle humour and tears from a haphazard trek through California, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

However, she neglects to sketch Wally in sufficient detail to make her feel like the heroine of her own story rather than a bystander in her father's final hurrah.

Damon Smith