The Pallbearer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pallbearer Reviews

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July 26, 2014
(First and only viewing - 5/25/2010)
½ August 28, 2013
Slow, improbable, and unfulfilling.
½ June 22, 2013
Eh... hard to see David Schwimmer as anyone but Ross.
March 3, 2013
The storyline was all over the place.
December 20, 2012
This is the epitome of the type of movie I refuse to watch - no thanks.
December 7, 2012
Will have to watch this one. Not necassarily good or bad. Will see. Want to watch!
November 25, 2012
I remember liking this a lot. It's got Gwyneth Paltrow!
October 8, 2011
½ August 29, 2011
The problem with stories like this is this: an audience has to believe that people actually act and re-act like this. "The Pallbearer" succeeds on so many levels it's too bad Tom's downward spiral is really just a square peg. Forced as the situations are there's still too much going for this little, dark comedy to ruin everything.
½ January 3, 2011
I think this one is a case of being half comedy and half serious....and that honestly doesn't quite work...its always difficult watching movies about affairs too...but in a way I admire the fact that somebody is taking it on....its also a important topic about how what happens when a young man sees a older woman...which is also a important topic.
December 6, 2010
Arriving in the summer of 1996, The Pallbearer was part of a slew of films the cast of Friends signed up for following their success on the small screen. Whilst most of his cast mates went for straight romantic comedies (Matthew Perry in Fools Rush In, Lisa Kudrow in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Jennifer Aniston in Picture Perfect), David Schwimmer opted for this much more maudlin affair.

In it Schwimmer stars as Tom Thompson, a 20 something average guy who's life is going nowhere fast. His friends are either getting married or thinking about starting a family; he just wants to move out of his mum's house. Tom's old high school crush (Gwyneth Paltrow) has moved back into town, but she was one of the popular girls who can't remember who he is. Having what is possibly the most misrepresenting cover in the history of cinema, this is far from the comedy it's being sold as, instead telling the dark story of a man asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of Bill Abernathy, an old school mate he doesn't recall knowing. It's such a high concept social nightmare it could have been a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, except not really played for laughs.

Finding himself placed in an impossible situation by the boys grieving mother (the sultry Barbara Hershey), Tom also agrees to deliver the eulogy for the man whose face he can't remember, hoping that things will fall into place at the funeral. It doesn't help matters when he then sleeps with the boy's mother, ending up in a particularly messed up relationship where he's basically her substitute son as well as her lover.

Although it's not terrible, I think it's safe to say this film would have been completely forgotten if not for a couple of things. Firstly, the director Matt Reeves followed this up with 2008's monster movie Cloverfield, and then with the recent vampire remake Let Me In. Eclectic is how I would describe his films. The other name worth mentioning is this film's producer Jeffrey Abrams, now better known to the world as the uber-producer, 'JJ' Abrams.

Abrams had already produced and written a couple of high profile films (Mel Gibson's Forever Young, Harrison Ford's Regarding Henry), but this was still before he had hit it big on the small screen with Felicity, Alias, and of course, Lost. Abrams and Reeves were both still under 30 when they made this film, and at times it's over sentimental in that way only pondering twenty somethings can be. For fans of Abrams' work The Pallbearer has the obligatory appearance from Greg Grunberg (Heroes' Matt Parkman).

As for the performance of leading man David Schwimmer, he's trying to channel Dustin Hoffman's Graduate character Benjamin Braddock, but seemingly as if he was raised in a cupboard under the stairs. Schwimmer's never too far away from Ross, particularly in the earlier series of Friends when he played a lovelorn loser pining after the girl that he in reality, would never end up with. It's hard to separate Schwimmer from the character he played on TV for 10 years, and although it's a dramatic and comedic performance, it's what I'd describe as 'hair acting'. Tom Thompson's fringe and dress sense is so distracting, it's like he's off to a fancy dress party as a 12 year old boy. The few times he slicks his hair back to closer resemble Ross Geller, it's the only time Schwimmer looks comfortable on screen.

Here it's Gwyneth Paltrow playing the Rachel stand-in, an old school friend who doesn't actually recall Tom Thompson, confusing him with a much more popular and memorable school friend. Much like Bill Abernathy, Tom's destined to be one of those guys you just don't remember, except for being part of the chess club. Paltrow's okay in this unshowy role, but as the object of Tom's affection, she's not really given a lot to do except pout.

When looking at it in comparison to the other 'Friends' movies, it's far from the worst and probably one of the more memorable. I'd put that down to the fact that Schwimmer never really was able to turn his small screen success into a big screen career, leaving us with this role and his directing work (hello Run, Fatboy, Run) as his contribution to cinema. At least he didn't repeat the crime of Jennifer Aniston by essentially playing the role he became famous for, over and over and over again.
½ November 18, 2010
"A comedy about life-long crushes, mistaken identity and one really bad eulogy."

"Something magical is about to unfold in the most unexpected place."

One of the most underated movies of the 90's, definitely in my top 10 comedies of that decade. Though Scream 1 and 2 may be as good, or better, Courtney Cox had very little to do with their success, whereas David Schwimmer carries this movie. For that reason, I'd say this is the best film by any Friends cast member, made after they had already been famous from being on Friends.
½ November 18, 2010
I vaguely remember this movie for which I saw this a long time ago late at night on TV, but I remember liking the cast more than what the plot was, but in retrospect it's interesting seeing the director of Cloverfield and Let Me In do something smaller and softer.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2010
Cast: David Schwimmer, Gwyneth Paltrow, Carol Kane, Toni Collette, Michael Rapaport, Barbara Hershey, Bitty Schram

Director: Matt Reeves

Summary: When Ruth Abernathy (Barbara Hershey) mistakes Tom Thompson (David Schwimmer) for someone else, Thompson ends up becoming a pallbearer at the funeral of her son -- a former high school classmate he doesn't even remember. Despite the fact that he's unemployed and living with his parents, Thompson convinces his old crush (Gwyneth Paltrow) to go out with him. Meanwhile, a sexual relationship develops between Thompson and Mrs. Abernathy.

My Thoughts: "It's a mix of a comedy and a drama. David Schwimmer plays Tom Thompson, who is a push over. He feels obligated to do anything for anyone when he doesn't want to. But to spare their feelings, he does it anyway. His love interest Julie, is the same way. The story is interesting and you get involved with the characters, especially David's. You watch him kinda grow up in the film. He is 25, jobless, and living at home with his mother and sleeping in bunk beds. By the end of the film you feel like he has grown and matured into an adult. Great job by Matt Reeves. It's a movie worth seeing at least once."
½ September 7, 2010
It is pretty funny when Tom is giving the eulogy, at the funeral. Some parts of the film actually surprised me: when I thought that I knew what was gonna happen next, something very different happened, instead! Also, pretty good romantics in the film.
½ August 23, 2010
Interesting dueling stories about the-fish-that-got-away and a Mrs. Robinson-type dealing with grief, which is encapsulated by the overarching theme of making one's mark in life. How will you be remembered? Will you be remembered? These are good questions that the movie provokes, and it does a great job of holding your interest throughout the time you're spending with these characters.
½ July 27, 2010
A thinly-veiled attempt to remake The Graduate with David Schwimmer playing the same character he does in Friends. A huge box-office flop.
½ April 16, 2010
Turned it off part way into it because it was so stupid!
½ January 14, 2010
worst movie in history
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