(3/04/11; Comedy, Drama)
Malin Åkerman, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Michael Algieri, Tony Hale, Josh Radnor, Pablo Schreiber
SCR/DIR: Josh Radnor
MPAA: Rated R for language.
1 hour 40 mins
At first glance, it seems as if this New York-based comedy about an ensemble of twentysomethings would be the kind of Woody Allen knockoff that burned itself out in the 90s. But this first film from writer-director Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) is light on its feet and endlessly charming.
Sam (Radnor) is a writer on his way to a meeting with a publisher when he encounters an abandoned foster care child (Aligeri) an reluctantly takes him in. Sam’s best friend Annie (Åkerman) is an Alopecia patient who attracts “29-year-old 12-year-olds,” his cousin Mary Catherine (Kazan) has a boyfriend (Schreiber) who’d really rather move to Los Angeles; and then there’s Mississippi (Mara), the pretty waitress/singer he hooks up with. When she tries to scramble out of a one-night stand, he proposes a “three night stand,” complete with keys.
The first thing Radnor gets right is making all of his characters seem like real people with real lives. Casting them with fresh faces who can act didn’t hurt. The dialogue is smart and literate without being too clever or ironic, and I was surprised how quickly I came to care about these folks.
The message here is decidedly upbeat: get yourself loved because you deserve it. It’s easy to imagine how, in the wrong hands, this film would have been too trite, cheesy or fake. But by the end, that awkward title described exactly how this movie made me feel. (Anchor Bay Films)
— DENNIS WILLIS