LIKE US (director/writer: Alex
Kurtzman; screenwriters: Roberto Orci/Jody Lambert;
Totino; editor: Robert Leighton; music: A. R. Rahman; cast:
Chris Pine (Sam),
Michelle Pfeiffer (Lillian), Elizabeth Banks (Frankie),
Olivia Wilde (Hannah), Michael Hall D’Addario (Josh
Davis), Philip Baker Hall (Ike Rafferty), Mark Duplass
(Ted), Sara Mornell (Dr. Amanda Goldberg), Jon Favreau (Sam's
boss), Barbara Eve Harris (Principal); Runtime: 115;
MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Roberto Orci/Bobby
Cohen/Clayton Townsend; DreamWorks Pictures;
"It's a pic that could have been real bad if the actors didn't give it a heart and a measure of sincerity."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
First-time director Alex Kurtzman helms this family dramedy, a limited soap opera story which was supposedly inspired by true events of the director's life. It's written by Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert. It offers a cautionary moralistic story about a liar learning by the film's conclusion he can be better than that.
Fast-talking oily NYC
salesman Sam's (Chris Pine) deal falls apart when he violates
government regulations while transporting a shipment of
canned soup by
rail and is threatened with criminal charges by an FTC
agent. Then Sam's estranged record producer dad dies
and he goes with his law student live-in girlfriend Hannah (Olivia Wilde) to LA to comfort his
Laurel Canyon dwelling mom Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer).
The trusted family lawyer (Philip Baker Hall) in secret hands the
startled Sam a shaving kit with $150,000 and tells him his
dad wants him to give the money to a half-sister he
was unaware existed. The twenty-something Sam is
tempted to keep the money but tracks down his
thirty-year-old sibling Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) and discovers she's a
single mom with an attention-needing shaggy-haired
adolescent son (Michael Hall D’Addario), works as a bartender,
and is a recovering addict and alcoholic in an AA group. When Hannah returns to
NY, Sam becomes involved with Frankie and she's
puzzled when he doesn't make a play for her and flips
out when she finally learns he's her half-brother.
It starts off with a bang,
but the middle part drags on forever and the third act
settles everything as expected--something that could
have easily been accomplished in a shorter time frame.
By the conclusion it turns into a familiar soap opera
story about overcoming past problems, getting over bad
feelings about an absentee dad and learning life
lessons. Great credit must be given to the thesps for
making this slight story that gets stuck in
sentimentality seemingly hold up to scrutiny. It's a
pic that could have been real bad if the actors didn't
give it a heart and a measure of sincerity.
REVIEWED ON 7/1/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ