Wednesday, July 11, 2012

People Like Us

I actually got a chance to see this little film a few weeks ago but hadn't had a chance to post it until now. It's a risky film to release in the middle of summer with Avengers, Spidey and the Dark Knight surrounding it. It's a straight up drama with comedic moments with a great cast but not necessarily a blockbuster one. So why release this now? No clue, that question would have to be answered by the same people who botched the John Carter flick at Disney, I would love to hear the explanation for this though. As one would expect it did get lost in the action shuffle only opening to a measly 4.2 million. The film caught my eye initially because of the cast, Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, and especially the writers and director Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who wrote it and Kurtzman directed. These two guys have really impressed me lately with their body of work on some of my favorite films and TV shows: They are the brain trust behind Fringe, the writers of the rebooted Star Trek, Transformers, Cowboys and Aliens and key writers on Alias and wrote the underrated Mission Impossible III. It did baffle me how many things I have been enjoying lately have come from these two guys. So when I saw they were tackling a straight up drama I was intrigued.

A fast talking salesman, Sam (Chris Pine) finds himself in a pickle at work when he messes up a big deal putting him in the hole for a few grand. Before he can take care of business he learns that his estranged father, a big time Music Producer,  has died. He brings his gorgeous supportive girlfriend Hannah (Oliva Wilde) and they head out to Los Angeles where he is met with another bombshell. His father had a out-of-wedlock daughter that he never knew existed. Sam seeks out his half-sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) but struggles to tell her who he really is.

Honestly I really liked this flick, I didn't think that I would especially based on those trailers which were somewhat uncomfortable as it appeared as if he was going to start making out with his sister at some point. When you watch the movie you realize early on that he's not going to do that but she doesn't have a clue about who he is and the film got uncomfortable real fast when you realize that she is attracted to him. This really was the biggest problem with the script in that it took way too long for him to tell her who he was while she was growing to love him in a romantic way. The script though was very sharp and the performances here were really great especially Elizabeth Banks. I've never seen her play a character like this, a tough single Mom who is struggling to get by. The kid was pretty great too, Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario) he could have really been an annoying bratty kid but his Josh was a pretty honest interpretation of a kid who has just had too many doors slammed in his face. If this had come out in late September or November I would have expected some Oscar nominations for Banks and possibly Michelle Pfeiffer. The reviews were pretty mixed for this flick but mostly I think because of the over-abundance of soap opera like scenarios that they throw in at once that can be distracting.  But I really did enjoy these characters and their arc and if you find yourself looking for a good drama with soap opera moments but solid characters and a great script then you should check out this little flick before it's too late. More than likely you'll have to wait for DVD but it's worth a watch anyway.

Grade: 3 Buckets

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