Get a child in need a pair of shoes for free
PEOPLE LIKE US
DIRECTOR: Alex Kurtzman
CAST: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Hall D’Addario, Olivia Wilde
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
While winding up his father’s estate, obnoxious salesman Sam (Pine) discovers he has a half-sister and a nephew he did not know about.
He’s supposed to make sure that his nephew gets a monetary inheritance, but he finds himself unable to part with the money, which he really needs.
Then, as he’s trying to talk himself into cutting and running, he finds himself seduced into the idea of this family he never knew he wanted.
He befriends his sister, Frankie (Banks), without telling her who is he is, so the story takes on a decidedly disturbing tone as she starts to trust him, especially when he makes a connection with her son, Josh (D’Addario).
Frenetic camera angles and movement make for an unexpectedly tense beginning to the film, but the plot takes too long to unfurl, especially since the audience already knows the twist from the get-go.
If the director’s name seems familiar – he is a long-time producer of TV series Hawaii Five-O, Alias and Fringe as well as several movies, but this is his feature film debut as a director.
The film is predicated on an intriguing idea, but skirts around the potential. The film revolves around Sam’s inability to talk to Frankie and explain the situation, yet the whole film is made up of him talking to her – so that device just doesn’t work. Also, considering it is a talk-heavy movie, the characters don’t exactly use their words well. There’s a lot of shouting going on.
It is such a soapie idea – take one simple idea, in this case a mistake by a now-dead man – and compound it with lots of unnatural structure and unnecessary plot devices because you need to keep the actors on stage.
What saves the film somewhat from its TV-like melodrama is the two very likeable leads. Pine (he eventually grows out of his obnoxiousness) and Banks (who does feisty soccer mom as if she was born to it) are solid. The pair and the supporting characters all flesh out their characters in small, thoughtful ways.
Frankie and Sam get a chance to re-examine their choices and perceptions about family, but it is Sam who undergoes the biggest change as he gains a measure of responsibility he did not realise he wanted.
Michael Hall D’Addario makes a likeable youngster, with his shaggy hair and sharp observations, while Michelle Pfeiffer is graceful as Sam’s mother.
The soundtrack is peppered with an atmospheric score from AR Rahman which is more world music than Indian music, supported by a great selection of music like The Clash – and Sam even mentions The Buzzcocks and Television.
So, lots of references to greater things, but in the final analysis it doesn’t quite convince. But if you don’t expect too much, it may work for you.
If you liked, Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Words, you will like this.