Honestly, it's sort of an ordinary family drama;
the kind that can be seen on many sticoms, it's just that there are
no canned laugh-tracks.
Think typical All-American Middle America family.
Dad (Richard Jenkins) owns a small plumbing supply business that's
going under. He responds to
everything emotionally, including his sons.
The older one, Ron (Sharlto Copley), is out of favor right now:
divorced from his wife, who's now seeing somebody else, and feeling
distanced from his two little girls, he desperately parks outside their
house and looks in with binoculars. This,
even after the new boyfriend, Reverend Dan (Josh Groban) politely asks him
to cease and desist. Ron's
jobless right now because he's been fired by his dad from the family
All this is distressing to Mom (Margo Martindale), who just wants
everybody to get along, but she's not getting much co-operation.
She barely disguises her preference for her younger son, John (John
Krasinski), who lives in New York, trying to make a living as a graphic
artist. The good news is that
he has a loving girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick), who's not only
pregnant with their child, but rich. But
John is not as together as it seems. He's
not at all certain he's made the right career choice, and a short
encounter with a former high school girlfriend has alarmed his
sensibilities, which he freely confesses to Rebecca, who, in her delicate
condition, is having a hard time not feeling threatened.
Mom's sudden illness brings the family together, but in crisis
mode. Some of the interplay is
warm and touching, but other relational dust-ups seem rather contrived.
It's not all just everybody playing out their caricature---there is
at least a little discernible character development----but none of it is
very dramatic or surprising. Yes,
it mostly feels real---but also nothing very extraordinary.
Except for one aspect: the
Youth Pastor, Reverend Dan. Rarely
in modern filmmaking will you see a positive role model for clergy (can
you even name one in a recent movie?).
Reverend Dan is patient, and a good listener, but also willing to
act decisivly to deliver Ron from a heap of potential trouble.
He doesn't push his religion on people, as they feared he would.
The only perplexing thing is what he might see in Ron's ex, who is
given a shallow role as an angry harpy, but maybe he's seeing a side of
her that we're not.
Altogether, a forgettable movie, but one that contains a remarkably
positive minor role for a modern clergyman. Whoda thunk it?