It's kinda weird that so many of us are rooting for the drama these days. So scarce in the marketplace that big studios won't put down the graphic novels they read in bed to consider making one, dramas used to be the norm. Can you imagine ORDINARY PEOPLE, or KRAMER VS. KRAMER getting made in this 3D Superhero climate let alone even getting a "Consider" from a Development Assistant's top sheet?
So when I heard that Dreamworks was putting some money into a weepy family dramedy with the likes of Chris Pine, Michelle Pfeiffer and Elizabeth Banks, I figured this had better be the most amazing story ever told in order to get this one past the suits. Or perhaps the studios owed somebody a passion project in exchange for, I don't know, Captain Kirking up the joint?
Regardless, I wish I could say that PEOPLE LIKE US is the "Comic Book Killer" movie we've all been waiting for, but it's not. It's well-intentioned, slightly undeveloped, ferociously directed yet overly so, and filled with terrific performances....yet it adds up to a good, surprising cry at the end preceded by the classic "Aggressive Douche Learns To Tell The Truth And Be A Responsible Member Of The Human Race" storyline we've seen a gazillion times. Frankly, I would like for this storyline to play out just once amongst the entire population of Los Angeles, but, alas, I'm clearly dreaming.
Everybody acquits themselves nicely, the cards all fall into place as you would expect, and, and, and...God, this film is just so forgettable. I saw it over a month ago, didn't really care to write about it then, and frankly, I still couldn't care less. Alex Kurtzman, an established producer making his feature debut here, directs as if nobody is ever going to give him the gig again. It's a classic rookie mistake of putting way too much energy into every shot, leaving absolutely no room for restraint and breathing room. This is kinetic filmmaking, and I applaud his energy and enthusiasm...but it's in service of the wrong script and the wrong genre.
Maybe he felt that the only way to get butts in the seats was to fool people into thinking it was an action film. Trust me, the audience may be stupid sometimes, but without a gizmo in the poster, ain't no chance in hell they're seeing your drama, however shiny the gift wrap may be. This depressing state of affairs is far more interesting a topic than anything presented in this film...except for that ending. It's beautiful emotional and totally unexpected, filled with restraint lacking in so much of the film. So, see it for the ending, but just don't expect to remember the first 110 minutes.