Who's In It: John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener
The Basics: John C. Reilly (who opens the movie behaving in a way that strongly recalls Dr. Steve Brule, the character he plays regularly on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) is a somewhat loserly freelance editor who drunk-meets Marisa Tomei at a party. Together, after a boldly embarrassing sing-along to Human League's "Don't You Want Me," they fall quickly into bed and then, somewhat strangely, even faster into love. Complications arise when Tomei's son Cyrus (Hill), an adult with a mommy fixation and perfectly calibrated empty-eyed stare, decides to move in for the kill. By stealing Reilly's shoes.
What's The Deal: Another entry in the funcomfortable genre of awkward comedy, this one would make a great anti-nice double feature with the Ben Stiller-starring Greenberg. The same rules apply: artfully "inept" handheld camerawork, intentionally go-nowhere dialogue that somehow still manages to cut through to the heart of what's eating at the people on screen, and a determination to avoid movie-like catharsis. But, like all good pained comic characters, their misery is funny to us if not to them--and that's just how it should be.
Pedigree: This is the first time co-writers/co-directors Jay and Mark Duplass have taken name actors on board the subgenre train they helped create, the used-to-be-kinda-funny-but-now-annoyingly-nicknamed "mumblecore" school of filmmaking. Together they're responsible for Baghead and The Puffy Chair. And while their style of moviemaking isn't for everyone (they hate non-ambiguous endings, almost to the point of refusing to write endings at all), to me their films feel lived-in and real even if they're also sometimes on-purpose absurd. I'll take casually offhanded over calculatedly heavy-handed any day of the week.
Old Movie It Reminded Me Of The Most: Bonjour Tristesse, the one where teenage Jean Seberg tries and tragically succeeds in destroying the romance her almost incestuously close father David Niven has heating up with Deborah Kerr. Somewhat happier resolution to this one, of course, but it would have been oddly funny to watch Jonah Hill give the rueful, tear-filled Jean Seberg close up that ends Tristesse.
Another Duplass Thing To Look At: Check out the sitcom Mark Duplass co-stars on called The League, about a bunch of guys in a fantasy football league. It's like a watching an ongoing male-friends-brutally-insulting-each-other contest and it's one of my favorite things on TV.