Picks and Pans Review: Box of Moonlight

updated 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/11/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

John Turturro, Sam Rockwell

When a hitherto painfully uptight fellow leaps, clad only in his white boxers, off a rock and into a forest lake, even the most literal viewer will catch the symbolism. The guy is taking the plunge—not just into the water but into life.

Box of Moonlight, an appealingly whimsical offering from writer-director Tom DiCillo (Living in Oblivion), is a feel-good movie for fans of independent films. It's about a straitlaced electrical engineer (Turturro, as good as ever) and how he loosens up after spending time in the woods with a wacky forest sprite (Rockwell, impressive in his first major role). A free spirit who dresses in buckskins and a Davy Crockett cap, Rockwell's character serves up cookies and milk in a dog bowl for breakfast and survives on the few bucks he makes selling purloined lawn ornaments. Catherine Keener (a veteran of DiCillo films) and Lisa Blount turn up briefly, and to amusing effect, as decidedly oddball sisters with whom the men spend the Fourth of July. (R)

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