A Cool, Dry Place (1998)


A Cool, Dry Place (1998)

A single father balances his work as an attorney with the care of his five-year-old son and his work as a high school basketball coach in rural Kansas, where he moved after his wife abandoned him in Chicago. Just as he starts to develop a new relationship with a veterinarian's assistant, his ex-wife suddenly reappears and wants to re-assert herself in her husband and son's life. On top of the romantic conflict, he is also suddenly presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to join a major firm in Dallas.
IMDb   6.2 /10
TheMovieDb    6.3 /10
FilmAffinity   5.5 /10
Director John N. Smith
Writer Michael Grant Jaffe
Writer Matthew McDuffie
Release Date1998-04-03
Runtime1h 37mins
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
CompanyFox 2000 Pictures, Jacobs/Mutrux
Russell Durrell
Kate Durrell
Calvin Durrell
Charlotte (as Siobhan Fallon)
Larry Ives (as Christopher Bauer)
Frankie Gooland
Carol Holman
Tom Johnson
Jack Newbauer

A Cool, Dry Place

A Cool, Dry Place is a 1998 drama movie adapted by Matthew McDuffie from the 1996 novel Dance Real Slow by Michael Grant Jaffe. It was directed by John N. Smith. The movie stars Vince Vaughn, Monica Potter, Joey Lauren Adams and Bobby Moat.


This article needs an improved plot summary. Please edit this article to provide one. (September 2015)

Russ, (Vince Vaughn) a single father, balances work as an attorney with caring for his five-year-old son, Calvin (Bobby Moat). Father and son adjust to their new life in rural Kansas, as Kate (Monica Potter), wife and mother abandoned them 18 months ago. Grandpa sends Calvin a jellyfish from Florida. It is obviously dead but the boy wants to keep it, calling it "Mom".

Russ also coaches the local high school basketball team and tells disrespectful, frequently absent Noah (Devon Sawa) he is benched for the next game. The boy's older sister and guardian Beth (Joey Lauren Adams) retaliates by dumping a bag of dog food on the coach's windshield. She frightens Calvin, but in making it up to them leads to dating Russ.

Suddenly, wife Kate (Monica Potter) reappears, wanting to re-assert herself in her son's life. Russ feels torn between the two women and what to do with Calvin. Kate makes Ross forget that he has been caring for his son totally on his own and he begins to doubt his ability to raise him. Then as he starts to think they might reconcile, she confesses that not only has she fallen in love with another, but that she probably never even loved him.

While Russ is in Dallas for a job interview for his dream job at a major firm, Kate runs off with the boy to Cincinnati. When he realizes, he talks to Beth, who convinces him that Calvin needs him, so he follows his wife to get his unhappy son back. Russ then turns down the job, Kate admits he is right and gives the boy back, and Russ and Calvin return to Kansas and Beth.


  • Joey Lauren Adams - Beth Ward
  • Vince Vaughn - Russell Durrell
  • Monica Potter - Kate Durrell
  • Bobby Moat - Calvin Durrell
  • Devon Sawa - Noah Ward
  • Dean McDermott - Deputy Sheriff Pritchard
  • Ben Bass - Placement Agent
  • Nicholas Campbell - Frankie Gooland
  • Siobhan Fallon - Charlotte
  • Jenny Robertson - Joyce Ives
  • Todd Louiso - Bob Harper
  • Skipp Sudduth - Jack Newbauer
  • Jennifer Irwin - Connie Harper
  • Aleksa Palladino - Bonnie
  • Melanie Nicholls-King - Dallas Desk Clerk
  • Beth Littleford - Suzanne
  • Chris Bauer - Larry Ives
  • Janet Kidder - Crystal
  • John Lefebvre - Cob Whitman


A large part of the film was not shot in Kansas, but rather in the town of Lindsay, Ontario (now part of the city of Kawartha Lakes) as well as the town of Brooklin.


Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 54% rating.