Friday, June 29, 2012
Unfortunately, “People Like Us” is a film that I can’t discuss too thoroughly without spoiling the experience for filmgoers. So, I am forced to tip-toe around the carefully-placed “land mines” somewhat.
Of course, I can give a thumbs-up on the drama – after all – for the most part (except for a-couple-of glaring flaws) the script is fairly well-written and the filmmaking effort is pretty solid.
Obviously, the visually-appealing project was crafted as a vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer to transition gracefully into “older” roles on the silver screen. The major problem with this – in the instant scenario – is that Pfeiffer may be too young to play Chris Pine’s (Sam) mother. Or, just maybe, Pine is too old to assume the role of her only male child.
It’s a bit of a shock to catch Pfeiffer on screen all “washed-out” and looking old and gray. But, her characterization quickly captivates the audience and they settle in for the long haul (!).
Pine doesn’t disappoint either in spite of the fact he overacts on occasion. For starters, his onscreen presence is quite remarkable. His dark handsome look beguiling!
The long and short of it?
Both actors are professionals who turn in highly believable performances that resonate and touch the audience.
But, it is a teenage actor who assumes that role of Elizabeth Bank’s son - Josh - who steals the limelight (Michael Hall D’Addario). What a natural! I expect that when the audiences are drawn in to packed houses this week that his star will soar in showbiz heaven.
Elizabeth Banks (Frankie) is no dumb show, either. Ms. Banks especially excels in her dramatic scenes which are heart-wrenching.
The film opens with Sam trekking home to Laurel Canyon to console his mother on the eve of his estranged father’s death.
The first shocker packs a wallop.
When Sam meets up with his father’s lawyer to discuss details of the estate, his world is turned upside-down when it is revealed to him that his inheritance consists solely of his father’s record collection (worth a bit of money but not the liquid asset he was expecting).
Then, another surprise twist knocks the wind out of him, too. On his deathbed, his father left instructions that a shaving kit – with a stash of cash and a mysterious note with instructions inside – be handed-off to Sam.
Suddenly, he’s faced with a dilemma. Does he pocket the nest egg or fulfill his father’s deathbed wishes?
Fortunately, Sam’s curiosity gets the best of him, and he does the right thing.
This is a Hollywood movie, after all, folks.
The one thing you can say about “People Like Us” is that the movie isn’t predictable, though.
And, to its credit, it’s not a piece of Tinseltown fluff.
Although it is overly-long, and stretches one’s credulity at times, if the filmgoer puts those shortcomings aside, it may prove to be an enjoyable afternoon at the local movie house.
Worth the price of admission, for sure!