About Alex

"Very Good"

About Alex Review


A riff on the 1983 classic The Big Chill, this ensemble drama's reunion of old friends differs because Alex's suicide fails this time. It's also, of course, filtered through a very different cultural landscape, with characters born at about the time the earlier film was released. This is a strikingly warm exploration of friendship, with light comedy and very dark emotions along the way. And even if it sometimes feels a little sloppy about its big themes, it has a lot to say.

After Alex (Jason Ritter) attempts suicide, his best pal Ben (Nate Parker) calls the old gang and asks them to come to Upstate New York and offer some support. Ben brings his girlfriend Siri (Maggie Grace), who's also part of the group. But they're grappling with some big issues in their relationship, since he's a blocked writer and she has just had a job offer in Los Angeles. The cynical Josh (Max Greenfield) arrives at the same time as the charmer Sarah (Aubrey Plaza), and they can barely conceal the waves of loathing and lust between them. Finally, Isaac (Max Minghella) brings his younger girlfriend Kate (Jane Levy). As these people reconnect, the awkwardness is made even more intense by the question of how they can help Alex.

It's intriguing to see a movie made about 30-ish characters by 28-year-old Jesse Zwick, son of filmmaker Edward, who made the seminal TV series Thirtysomething. The film refreshingly avoids stereotypes, populating scenes with realistic people who are still hung up on the same issues they faced while in university, including quite a lot of soapy "he likes her but she likes him" melodrama. But as the weekend progresses, the thoughtful conversations lead to revelations and confessions, spurred on by some pot-smoking, game-playing, dancing and noisy sex. All of which gives the actors plenty to play with.

Plaza is the standout, as usual, with her bracingly complex performance as a young woman who can't help but seduce every man she meets. Also notable are Greenfield's abrasive grump and Levy's outspoken outsider, while Ritter has the most emotionally resonant role as a guy who knows the depths of his own disappointment. Even so, the script never quite addresses the whole suicide issue, apart from a general air of guilt and discomfort. So the connections between the characters are packed with other pungent themes, including lingering feelings, regrets and rivalries. While the revived camaraderie and running jokes keep us thoroughly entertained, the film is more of a gentle portrait than a provocative exploration. And in its ultimate observation ("What happened to us?" "We got serious") the film reveals its own immaturity. Because these people are a long way from arriving at any real understanding about their lives.



About Alex

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th August 2014

Distributed by: Screen Media Ventures

Production compaines: Footprint Features, Bedford Falls Company, The

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jesse Zwick

Producer:

Starring: as Sarah, as Josh, as Isaac, as Alex, as Ben, as Siri, as Kate, as Night Editor, Rey Lucas as Rudy Suárez

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