Saturday, March 26, 2011
Finally got to see this movie, How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor, as that trailer says, wrote, directed and starred in. And I can say it was at least as good, maybe better than I expected.
On the surface, it almost sounded a bit like HIMYM
Captures a generational moment - young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved.
but Radnor and the story isn't incredibly similar to his character and the situation he's in, in the tv show he's known for.
Radnor's character Sam Wexler (which by the way, is a name movies/tv seem to like to use more often than I'd expect. See The TV Set for example), one day on the subway sees a boy abandoned by his (Foster) mother. So he feels compelled to help the boy out by looking for his mother. The problem is, the boy doesn't want to go back to his mother or Foster family.
So, the boy hangs with Sam for a long portion of the movie. Sam's friends and daily activities end up encountering him with this boy, who we eventually learn is named Rasheen.
The women in Sam's life included. The weird thing is, the way Sam is watching over the boy is not seen by the women in his life as admirable really. The women being 2 friends who are women (Malin Akerman and Zoe Kazan), and a woman he meets with Rasheen and eventually proposes not a 1-night stand, but a 3-night contract.
Maybe it's trying to avoid being predictable or cliche, but the women see Sam's companionship with Rasheen as irresponsible almost. Although the girl he's having the 3-night stand into 1-week "playing house," whose name is Mississippi actually (Kate Mara), is told originally by Sam, that he is the "Big Brother" to the boy he's with. So she had extra motivation to find the situation irresponsible given Sam lied to her about what the boy really was doing with him.
But in a lot of ways, what Sam is doing is actually admirable. I mean c'mon, a boy needs help, Sam helps him. The boy isn't his responsibility, but he decides to help the boy out anyway. But he never says to these women, namely Mississippi, "what was I supposed to do?" It's sort of a self-conscience thing. Anyone with a heart and reasonable, rational, considerate personality would want to help a boy abandoned by his mother out, right?
But the actual depiction of events and dialog never really asks that question fully. Maybe Radnor didn't want to, I'm not sure. But watching it and seeing the situation, I couldn't help but do so myself. The Sam character really does nothing wrong with Rasheen, but it isn't quite portrayed that way. Especially when he goes to the Foster care office, and then ultimately is arrested.
However, it is well transitioned in the end. Maybe it's a little bit of a Hollywood happy ending feel, but I follow why the arrest and what transpires afterward happens in the end.
The other characters stories are interesting enough. Relationships basically. Malin Ackmerman's character Annie has Alopecia (she has no hair, at least on her head), and has her issues with the men in her life. Radnor it appears is her best friend who she goes to for advice about them. This guy at her work also named Sam (Sam #2, played by Tony Hale from Chuck) likes her, but it's understandable why she isn't too into him.
But eventually she does go out with him, a little bit on a rebound from trying to forget about her Ex. And while Sam #2 isn't always charming, there are some points where he appears a lot more appealing than you'd expect.
Zoe Kazan's character Mary Catherine is in a situation with her boyfriend Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) who wants to move to LA to go into business with a friend. But Mary Catherine doesn't want to leave New York City, and also finds out something she is hesitant to tell him about.
Both their relationship and Annie's status are supporting, but not incredibly different than a lot of plots you see in Romantic Comedies/Dramedies. But for what they are, they add enough to the story.
I guess my take is with Radnor, I've always enjoyed him on How I Met Your Mother, and been curious what he may be able to do, even just in other comedic work, and this movie does support his ability. He's one of those actors whose interesting to watch and hear speak. I'm not sure how else to describe it. Is it a man-crush? I don't think so :p, but I definitely enjoy watching him work and would certainly be interested to see him in more things (whether that be new movies or tv shows, or stuff from his past I've never seen).
As well with the kid, played by Michael Algieri, who I could not get past how much he reminds me of the kid who plays the Jabbar character on NBC's Parenhood (Tyree Brown).
I also might add the soundtrack is nice, including a couple of tunes from Cloud Cult. Being a CC fan, I can always be on board with that.
Plus in the credits, I noticed among the actors who helped read (auditioned?) for this, Ari Graynor, Sarah Chalke (on the set of HIMYM perhaps?), Jordana Spiro, Jenna Fischer, Jennifer Morrison and Eddie Kay Thomas, which was interesting.
Movie of the Year? no. But certainly one of the better movies I've seen recently with good dialog; but pretty puzzling as to why Lagoon Theater pulled it. Likely due to money, but it's sad given I think it's a movie more people would like and should be able to see. Maybe later this year with any luck.