Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Ambitious but uneven, John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men tries hard but doesn't match the depth of the book.

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Photos

Movie Info

Adapted from the book by David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men tells the story of Sara Quinn, a graduate student in anthropology who's left feeling lost after her boyfriend breaks up with her and offers little explanation as to why. With her dissertation looming, Sara begins a project to interview men, all sorts of men, trying to unearth the mystery of their bizarre behavior. As her personal life and her academic life continue to mingle, Sara uncovers some strange and disturbing things about the male perspective, but nothing could be quite as strange as what she learns about herself.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
IFC

Cast

Julianne Nicholson
as Sara Quinn
Ben Shenkman
as Subject #14
Timothy Hutton
as Prof. Adams/Subject #30
Michael Cerveris
as Subject #15
Corey Stoll
as Subject #51
Chris Messina
as Subject #19
Max Minghella
as Kevin/Subject #28
Lou Taylor Pucci
as Evan/Subject #28
Will Arnett
as Subject #11
John Krasinski
as Ryan/Subject #20
Will Forte
as Subject #72
Joey Slotnick
as Tad/Subject #59
Clarke Peters
as Subject #31
Dominic Cooper
as Daniel/Subject #46
Benjamin Gibbard
as Harry/Subject #20
Bobby Cannavale
as Subject #40
Christopher Meloni
as R/Subject # 3
Denis O'Hare
as A/Subject # 3
Josh Charles
as Subject # 2
Frankie Faison
as Subject #42
Malcolm Goodwin
as Father of Subject #42
Rashida Jones
as Hannah
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (15)

Faced with the unenviable choice between honoring his daunting inspiration and telling his own story, the director shoots straight down the middle -- and misses both targets.

Full Review… | July 3, 2010
NPR
Top Critic

Offers is the opportunity for a bunch of actors, many of them tethered to TV series, to deliver theatrical monologues pulsing with misogyny and narcissism. It's like second-rate Neil Labute.

Full Review… | November 12, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

I worry that this film is static enough and stiff enough that it's going to keep people away from discovering David Foster Wallace if they haven't read him.

September 28, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

Tthough this experiment doesn't quite succeed, there's enough intelligence and insight in this movie to make it worth the attempt.

September 28, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

[Krasinski's] generosity of intent is really the main impression that remains. He read, he loved, and unfortunately, he did not conquer.

Full Review… | September 27, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Actor John Krasinski deserves credit for having the ambition to adapt material as difficult as David Foster Wallace's short stories.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

A woman interviews men about their relationships with women and feminism. Throughout most of the first act of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men I had no idea where it was going, and worse, I didn't care. Julianne Nicholson acted like Julianne Nicholson usually does - awkward and lost, drawn to expectation and thwarted by disappointment. And the stories in the first act were banal in the way one might expect - creepy in some cases, but overall, not extraordinary. Then, at the beginning of what should have been the second act (this film's structure is strange because it seemed like they skipped act two), there is a story about a man whose father worked as a bathroom attendant to support his family. John Krasinski's direction allows the older son to confront his younger father about his sacrifices, and the result is touching and compelling. The film takes off from there, the stories getting more and more interesting and the protagonist's goal more and more clear. Krasinski's final monologue proves him to be a strong dramatic actor. However, I did think that the dialogue, much of which must have been copied out of David Foster Wallace's book, seemed like it was written by an actor who wanted the opportunity to read what he read in public, not the result of a conscious dramatic choice. Overall, I liked the last half of this film even though it's a true "actors movie."

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

In "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," Sara(Julianne Nicholson), a graduate student, interviews various men about their sex lives for her thesis, even secretly taping a couple of them(Christopher Meloni & Denis O'Hare) talking about sexually harassing a woman(Lorri Bagley) at an airport. And that's kind of the level of discourse she has to listen to, day in and day out. Added to that, as a woman, she is expected to be in a relationship with a man, hopefully not like her subjects but maybe like the one(Will Arnett) who is locked out of his apartment.(Or to take a more extreme example: In an early episode of "Homicide: Life on the Streets," Detective Kay Howard(Melissa Leo) confides to a therapist about her conflicting feelings about men, after, as a homicide detective, seeing the worst they have to offer.) Newly single, people comment on Sara's wardrobe and her haircut and her professor(Timothy Hutton) suggests she should be more sociable. As intriguing as this might sound and despite incredibly and inventively realizing the cinematic potential in such material, the movie sadly never quite goes beyond the conceptual level. And I think a lot of that has to do with never hearing Sara's questions to hear what she is so curious about, so she sadly remains little more than a cipher. Like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy" points out, sometimes the questions are just as important as the answers.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Boring.

Megan S
Megan S

Super Reviewer

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