It’s the new “Garden State.”
Not a compliment.
Too bad, because its first 20 minutes or so are full of promise, as would-be novelist Sam (Josh Radnor, TV’s “How I Met My Mother”) witnesses an African-American child (newcomer Michael Aligeri) get separated from his foster family on the subway, and rushes to his aid. But the boy, Rasheen, doesn’t want to go home, so Sam just keeps him around, laws be damned.
Then the movie all goes to crap as it becomes yet another dramedy about how terrible the world is because Sam can’t stop having one-night stands and commit to one woman. Woe is he! What ever will he do when he falls for a cute waitress (Kate Mara, “127 Hours”) who won’t stand for his infantile ways?
Also serving as writer and director of this mess, with nary a genuine emotion in it, is Radnor, giving himself the lead, yet going out of his way to make him repellent. References to vinyl? Rarely shaves? Has to be reminded to tuck in his shirt? Unable to close his mouth when he’s not talking? The checklist of Annoying Indie Character Traits is complete, each matched to a Really Deep Song from a mixtape I’m guessing Radnor made to soundtrack his misery of being trapped in a hit sitcom.
His screenplay is full of situations and ideas that have no real-world grounding. The waitress’ inexplicable name is Mississippi. Having just met her, Sam talks her into signing a contract agreeing to live with him for three days. His best bud (Malin Akerman, “Couples Retreat”) is hairless due to an immune disorder, which she has for no good reason other than, I assume, Radnor wanted her to wear colorful towels around her head.
Don’t even get me started on the other needless subplot involving his artist cousin (Zoe Kazan, “Meek’s Cutoff”) who finds herself pregnant when her longtime boyfriend wants her to move with him to L.A., and she gets angry because … well, I’m not sure why she’s so angry, but it’s making me angry again just thinking about it.
From a technical standpoint, it’s fine. In storytelling, it’s wholly deficient. This has all the depth of a ghostwritten page ripped from Oprah’s magazine, and all the self-aggrandizing that goes along with it. Nomorenothanksnoway. —Rod Lott