I could nitpick and find a trillion faults with this movie. The direction lacks any sort of inspiration, letting the viewer actually “feel” the passive way Krasinski chooses to go about treating the all-star cast. Thankfully, most of the actors seem to know what they’re doing so, albeit lukewarm directorially, the performances somewhat save the day.
My opinion, unless he seriously ups his game, JC really needs to keep his front-of-camera day job and leave the technicalities to those with a more creative eye. Onwards.
The writing is inconsistent, varying from incoherent to brilliant which, let’s just say is not good for those with short attention spans. Like a screenwriter’s hoarding wasteland, the plot is crammed with all sorts of random subplots that add nothing to the story, ultimately resulting in frustrating loose ends – so be prepared to invest and be disappointed.
Now, for the surprise. I actually enjoyed this movie. Emotional manipulation, forced drama and all, on the back of the magnificent chemistry between Martindale and Jenkings, Krasinski’s dead-pan despondence, Day’s irrational wit, and Kendrick’s refreshingly grounded performance, I was thoroughly entertained. The movie offers quite a few pieces of quotable dialogue and peppered with humorous lacings, certain melodramatic sequences that border on the twee never quite tip over to the cringe-inducing side, keeping the drama basic but real.
All said and done, this would have been a two-star, forgettable annoyance, yet it somehow succeeded in gripping my attention enough for me to enjoy the otherwise menial material.
From me, three stars and never forget that Margo Martindale is one of the great ones.