The Night Listener

Rated 2.0

A late-night radio host (Robin Williams), depressed over a breakup with his lover (Bobby Cannavale) and conflicts with his father (John Cullum), discovers the story of a teenage boy (Rory Culkin) whose childhood was a nightmare of sexual abuse—but begins to wonder if the boy’s story is true, or if he even exists. Adapted from Armistead Maupin’s novel by Maupin, Terry Anderson and director Patrick Stettner, the film has sincere performances to recommend it, including Toni Collette as either the boy’s guardian or the liar who invented him. But the atmosphere is so dreary and smothered in idiot solemnity that it’s hard to care about anyone. Besides, Williams’ character is such a querulous bring-me-down whiner that we don’t blame his boyfriend for dumping him or his dad for thinking he’s pathetic.