Who's In It: Paul Dano, Zooey Deshanel, Ed Asner, Jane Alexander, John Goodman, Zach Galifianakis
The Basics: Paul Dano is a worried-looking guy who works in a grimy warehouse dump of a wholesale mattress store, is being stalked by a homicidal homeless guy and who nurtures a lifelong obsession with adopting a Chinese baby. Sometimes he goes into the woods and does mushrooms with his dad Ed Asner. Zooey Deschanel is a less sprightly, more spooked-acting version of other quirky-girl characters she's played before and here is the caretaker for her very rich father John Goodman. Together Paul and Zooey have (somewhat paraphrased but not by much) conversations like this:
Her: What are you reading?
Him: An article. [slightly too long and quite awkward pause] It's about these monks who play basketball in Arizona. [another pause] They got in a fight with five advertising executives.
[She stares at him.]
Him: What are you reading?
Her: Some advertisements. This one is for a meditation pillow filled with buckwheat. It's $245 dollars.
Him: That's kind of a lot.
Her: Yeah. It is.
[More staring happens]
What's the Deal: I'm going to assume that this movie is about modern anxiety concerning life and love and everything else, including the excruciating decision-making process involved in selecting an appropriate mattress. Fortunately, the movie mostly focuses on the non-mattress stuff because in this particular grimy wholesale mattress warehouse, every single person who comes in to buy one is allowed to take three-hour naps as kind of a test-drive. My own theater seat was not nearly as comfortable as the bedding on screen or I would have settled in for one myself.
The Biggest Problem Of All: Just look at that cast. Cool people, all of them, their talents abused all over the place here. And I've been a big champion of Zooey Deschanel in the past. She's always the bright spot and calmly cool center in lots of movies that are sometimes otherwise swirling tornados of crap. My favorite thing to say about her used to be, "I want to see the movie that's all about her character instead of her boring best pal Sarah Jessica Parker." (In Failure to Launch) But now I'm not so sure.
Trying Their Best: Ed Asner as the quirky old mushroom dad, John Goodman as Deschanel's bluntly bossy father with the bad back, and a comedic character actor named Ian Roberts as Dano's older brother who cuts through the crap in every scene and gets regular "full-release" massages with business associates. Finally, a silent Zach Galifianakis as the homeless guy gets to beat the hell out of Dano with a metal pipe and all it does is make you wish you had one too so you could take out your frustrations on confused little indie films like this.