People Like Us

"Good"

People Like Us Review


There's an intriguing true story buried inside this overly structured drama, and by playing by simplistic screenwriting rules the filmmakers make everything trite and predictable. Fortunately, the cast is much better than the material, and they bring their characters to life with jaggedly engaging interaction and some resonant emotion.

The story centres on Sam (Pine), a fast-talking New York salesman who is in big trouble professionally. So when his estranged father dies in Los Angeles, it gives him a chance to escape. He heads off to see his mother (Pfeiffer) and find out what he has inherited. But the lawyers hand him a bag of cash that he has to give to smart 11-year-old Josh (D'Addario), whose barmaid mother Frankie (Banks) is the half-sister Sam never knew he had. Without revealing his identity, he worms his way into Frankie and Josh's life. But the Feds are catching up with him, and Frankie is about to learn who he really is.

This is one of those films that hinges completely on the characters' inability to talk to each other. So one honest conversation at the beginning would make this a very short movie! But no, the screenwriters force everything into an unnatural formula that completely undermines the genuinely interesting things going on. Even so, the actors manage to hold our interest, mainly due to some terrific chemistry. At the centre, Pine nicely holds his own in scenes with the wonderful Pfeiffer and Banks, while D'Addario proves to be a young actor to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, side characters add texture, most notably Duplass as a neighbour with the hots for Frankie, and Wilde as Sam's frazzled girlfriend.

It also helps that there's a serious tone underlying the corny plotting, as scenes touch on meaningful themes about human connections. There are some very strong parent-child moments, and a gentle exploration of how the past influences us even when we do everything to avoid it. In other words, the superficial approach will annoy more discerning audiences, while easier-to-please viewers will have plenty to enjoy. And everyone's likely to find themselves choking back tears at the end.

Rich Cline



People Like Us

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th June 2012

Box Office USA: $12.4M

Budget: $16M

Distributed by: Dreamworks Pictures

Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG, Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Clayton Townsen

Starring: as Sam, as Frankie, as Hannah, as Lillian, as Ted, Jon Morgan Woodward as John AA menber, as Simon, Barbara Eve Harris as Mrs. Haney, as Jerry, as Dr. Amanda Goldstein

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