**½/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras C
starring Charlie Sheen, Christopher McDonald, David Sherrill, Jeff Cesario
screenplay by David Sherrill & David Michael O'Neill
directed by David Michael O'Neill
by Walter Chaw Men's coming-of-age pictures fall into the categories of finding a dead body by the side of the train tracks, making a bet during a personal summer of '69 concerning getting laid, or going away with the buddies on the eve of marriage (or the aftermath of a suicide, though some might say, "Same difference"). (Trouble at home, Walter? -Ed.) They are films, in other words, about courage, about a journey, and about sex and rituals of mortality. Hyphenate David Michael O'Neill's Five Aces is another in that long-standing tradition of pseudo-nostalgic man-sensitive buddy flicks, this one free of the stultifying voice-over narration but not of the contracted timeframe and forced epiphanies. On these masculine journeys of self-discovery, you see, the spotlight shines on each pilgrim in his turn like a twisted middle-class milk dud version of The Canterbury Tales.