[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] P [/dropcap] eople Like Us is a strange title for this film, written and directed by Alex Kurtzman. Kurtzman is more a writer than a director and this comes through in everything from title to the fairly ordinary dialogue and interaction. This is a story of another thirty-something that has wasted his life scamming a living (think Tom Cruise in Rain Man) and is then disappointed to be disinherited by a father who had a bad relationship with him. The twist is that he is asked to “take care of” his heretofore unknown step sister and her 11year old son. The plot is about him changing his ways to care more for others…..not exactly a fresh concept.
Chris Pine is the guy….he did some good stuff like Smokin’ Aces and Bottle Shock and while he has the look, he plays a bit flat. He plays against the ubiquitous gap-toothed Elizabeth Banks. The best part of the cast is Michelle Pfeiffer, Pine’s mother (ouch!). Special mention to Michael Hall D’Addario, the kid, who is too smart for his own good.
The most realistic part of this story is that this ner-do-well is under subpoena from the FTC and living under threat of incarceration and fine. In the mean time he is trying to pass off a Dopp Kit with $100k in cash (rolled $100 bills, the Russian mobs’ currency of choice) for his alcoholic, cocktail waitress, single mom sister. I think we have to add anti-money laundering charges to his rap sheet.
This turns out to be a pretty long and boring sappy story with almost no real romantic love interest except Banks getting a quickie at her neighbor’s. Someone needs to tell Kurtzman that people like us don’t like movies like that.
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] M [/dropcap] an on a Ledge was a movie I was steadfastly avoiding. I’m a NY Times Film Club member and I got advance tickets, which I had to give away. I gave them to my junior-most colleagues, who seriously panned this film. Accordingly, I almost did not go on the presumption that newbie director Asger Leth (what a name!) just didn’t cut it. This is why you never, ever listen to only one review before scratching a film…..I loved it.
Sam Worthington (Mr. Avatar in case you have forgotten) is an ex-cop escaped con (already the Fugitive, Con-Air thing has me going in the right direction) who goes out on the physical and proverbial ledge to prove his innocence. This is not a psychodrama about John Q and the indignity of j’accuse. This is an uber action film that switches between a midtown Manhattan jumpers ledge at the Roosevelt Hotel and a high-tech heist at the nearby diamond district HQ of the bad guy….played by lean and nasty Ed Harris.
I gotta say this brought back memories of my Bear Stearns day (next door to the Roosevelt) in more ways than one. Ed Harris should be the guy to play Jimmy Cayne when they make the movie….he is so nasty and vile as to be perfect for the role. He could also play Lev Leviev with his blood diamond cum mega developer…..there’s another nasty guy and memory I can’t get out of my head……boy I sure can pick ‘em.
But my real film point here is that this was a complex, well-timed, heart-stopping movie that had humor, humanity, complicated and funny love interests and generally was a lot a lot of fun. Go see it, you’ll love it too even if Justin and Ari didn’t (Jesse must have been hard on them that day).