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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Alycia Delmore

Touchy Feely (2013)

If Rosemarie DeWitt wants to touch me, she can be my guest. Hell, she can be my wife!

Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a woman that “feels” for a living. She gives massages to people, and they consider her one of the best and most worthwhile, mainly because she has that touch and feel for what it takes to give a good back-rub, or something like that. However, once Abby loses her touch, she finds herself in a bit of a funk that not only jeopardizes her job, but her relationship with her boyfriend (Scott McNairy). While on the other side of things, her brother, the up-tight, socially awkward dentist Paul (Josh Pais), seems to have gotten her “touch” and “feel”, therefore, giving him an ability to cure almost anybody’s problems they may have with their mouths. This boosts his self-confidence a bit, and may actually give him the chance to talk to his daughter (Ellen Page), and find out what she really wants to do with the rest of her life, rather than helping him out fixing cavities.

Writer/director Lynn Shelton has been something of an indie-darling, and practically, the go-to-gal for an indie-dramedy that’s not just funny, but heartfelt and insightful into human-relationships, and the way we all function. Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister are perfect examples of this, not just because those are her last two flicks before this, but because they show exactly the same type of balance of heart, humor, and humanity that I talk about. She knows how to make us laugh, while also having us cry by the end of the story, all because she gave us characters worth paying attention to and caring for. However, all of that goes right out the window here, as it seems like not only has Shelton gotten a bigger budget in her palms now, but that she’s also found a way to try and mesh her indie-style, with something that’s more mainstream and accessible to the wider audience.

She can use those hands on me anytime she wants. She just can't "talk" to me about it, while she's doing it.

She can use those hands on me anytime she wants. She just can’t “talk” to me about it, while she’s doing it.

Sadly, it doesn’t work.

And what doesn’t allow it to work is that this flick doesn’t have a single-beat that feels real, honest, or even believable in any way. It’s all quirky, all of the time, and done for a cheap-set of laughs that not only don’t amount to anything, but build characters that you can’t really reach and grab; mostly because they feel like one-dimensional characters. But I’m not saying they’re unlikable per se, it’s just that they don’t feature any type of realism to the way they act, speak, or go about their daily-life that makes you feel as if they are just like one of us, except more good-looking and talented. That’s how I felt with Shelton’s past two movies, and it’s what I expected to feel here, except, it didn’t happen. The story just went on, and on, and on, and on, and then, ended.

Which is a shame because you can tell that the cast seems to be trying. Rosemarie DeWitt is as charming and as cute as she’s ever been, and gives Abby a sense of down-to-earth honesty that makes her feel like a person, but the script takes over and makes her sort of a weirdo that feels all sorts of emotions a little too much. More than your average person should FEEL. And it was enjoyable to watch at times because DeWitt made it that way, but when you have a character that does such actions like tells her boyfriend to take off his shirt, only to walk away seconds later, bang him in her brother’s bathroom (and visibly too), and take ecstasy, only to get pissed-off when the boyfriend considers it “a random choice of actions”, you have to wonder just how unpredictable a character can be until they’re annoying. For me, I got annoyed of her pretty quick; and not just because I hate people that are like her character, but because she shows no rhyme or reason for the way she is. She knows that she can be unbearably odd at times, but never takes a second to think about why, or apologize to the people she loves the most, who are also sometimes the ones she hurts the most.

Near-tears at an indie music show? You bet your righteous ass they're hipsters!

Near-tears at an indie music show? You bet your righteous ass they’re hipsters!

Same kind of goes for the rest of the cast as well, even though they are all just as thinly-written as she is, just with less charisma. Scoot McNairy feels like the type of cool, hipster boyfriend that should be winning all of the ladies’ hearts with his good-looks, his sweet voice, and scruffy beard, but somehow comes off as a bit of a wimp, the type of dude you wouldn’t expect to see with Abby or last as long with her as he has. Granted, they do make a mention to how he was “the rebound” for her, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that his character doesn’t seem to really stand-up for himself when he needs to and tell his girlfriend how he feels, at any given time. Ellen Page plays Abby’s niece, who is also the same girl who has eyes for McNairy’s character and seems like she should have that whole “angst-ridden teen” thing down by now, but feels like she’s too much of a negative Nancy to really qualify as a teen, or a character worth watching either. She’s just here and you can tell that Shelton cared about her character and her story the least. Poor Juno, we all know she’s better than this.

Surprisingly though, the only one who walks away with this movie and makes it somewhat watchable, is the least-known name on the cast-list, even though he may be the most noticeable considering of how many pieces of work he’s shown up in all of these years. The name of the face is Josh Pais, who plays the weird, quiet, and oddly-placed brother of Abby, and does what he can with this role, neurotic twitches and all. You can tell that the heart of the movie lies with this dude, and you know that Pais is capable of making us laugh at this dude, then have us want to give him a hug when all is said and done too, however, you also know that this material doesn’t seem like the type of “breaking out” piece that he may have needed so late in his career. He’s a bit of a goofy and plays all of the weirdness of this guy very well, but it doesn’t amount to much, as his character never seems to learn anything that may have needed to be learned, in order to change the way he viewed life, his sister and what his daughter wants to do for her future. There’s a sign it may happen, but it never seems discovered and that’s a real shame. His character, the most beloved one out of them all here, also ends up having no real revelation and just goes about his daily-life as usual. Boring, and slightly depressing.

Consensus: While it certainly isn’t terrible and can be watched for some good performances from this talented-cast, Touchy Feely is probably Lynn Shelton’s weakest movie to-date, and shows her in a bit of a muddle, wondering what to say about each character, how to say it, and when it should all end for them, but ends up not really saying anything at all. Maybe that’s how life is? Actually, I don’t know!

5 / 10 = Rental!!

"So...uhm....awkward, right?"

“So…uhm….awkward, right?”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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Humpday (2009)

If the ladies aren’t quite working out, might as well just go for your best bud. Always seems like a safe bet.

College friends Ben (Mark Duplass) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) finally reunite after ten years and spend a night together where they get drunk, get high, and end up talking about having sex with each other on-screen. Yup, you heard right. They actually got around to having a discussion about boning one another in front of the screen. At first, it all seemed like a bunch of “drunken talk”, until the next day where the guys are still thinking about it and have to wonder if they want to go through with it, or not. And hell, if they do end up going through it, what the repercussions would be, as I’m sure there has to be plenty for having sex with your best pal.

Alright, for all of the dudes out there, have you ever had a best bro-friend that you can talk about anything with, do anything with, and just be yourself around 24/7? If yes, then you are like most men and if not, I’m sorry, but go find one of them right now. For the guys that do have one of them (myself included), it’s gotta be pretty weird once you think about you and that other guy actually doing anything more than just being simple, cool bro’s together. I mean sex with anybody can be very weird, but sex with your best male-friend? That’s just a whole ‘nother level of weird and that’s exactly the point that this moving brings up with good reason, but trust me, it’s not exactly what you think.

"Yeah, so, uhm.....about us banging?"

“Yeah, so, uhm…..about us banging?”

Writer/director Lynn Shelton deserves a lot of credit here for going all out with a premise that seems like the snarkiest premise ever put to film, and somehow making it a sweet, insightful tale about the idea of a “bromance” and how far it can, and can’t go. Shelton’s script-skills are impressive because the gal doesn’t really write that much dialogue, instead she just points the actors where to go in the movie, and allow them to just improvise on the spot with whatever the hell it is that they think is right for that exact moment. It’s a method that works very, very well for her and makes this film seem more natural and understated, rather than a shoe-horned story that needed to happen so people could really feel awkward in their seats.

However, that idea of awkwardness is still very present in this movie but it’s used in a way that isn’t just manipulating you to the point of where you feel like this film has nothing else to do with it’s premise; it’s more about how two friends can interact with each other about anything, but the topic of possibly exploring more between one another is where the line is drawn. Not only does it discuss the idea of what binds between a friendship, but also sexuality and not closing yourself off to what you think is right for you, and what may be out there for you as well. It’s a very strange topic that comes out in the strangest way possible, but it’s so honest with itself, to the point of where I felt like I really understood why two guy-pals would actually go so far as to even try and get it on with one another.

As with most mumblecore movies, you get a lot of the same, silent sequences where people don’t seem to be talking and instead just focus on “real-life situations” which, for the most part, are done well here but it sort of got tiresome after awhile. I think what I didn’t like about the mumblecore-aspect of this movie is that it allowed these actors to all improvise their shorts off and even though they are all fine and dandy with it, some scenes seem to drag-on too long and have these people just talk like they have a gun to their head and can’t come up with anything else. Improvisation is usually one of those tricks that can either make or break a film, and oddly enough, this is one of those films that makes it and breaks it a bit. But not by too much, though.

But, like I said, the improvising didn’t really destroy the movie as much as it could have, mainly because of the cast that’s here to deliver it and they all do perfect jobs with it. Mark Duplass is one of those actors who has really been growing on me as of late and needless to say, his role here as Ben makes me realize why. Duplass is just so charming, cool, and sweet, that you really understand why a guy like him would feel the need to not only do something as outlandish as this to prove that he’s not closing his mind-off to what’s out there in life, but also not forgetting to please his wife and make her as happy as she can be. He used to be a cool guy that hung-out and did gnarly stuff with his guy-friends, but now, is all grown-up, married, and on the verge of having kiddies, which makes him a bit of a softy now. Which, altogether, makes total sense why he would want to go through with something such as sex with his best-friend.

She's handling the whole "I'm your husband, and I want to have sex with my best-friend" idea very well.

She’s handling the whole “I’m your husband, and I want to have sex with my best-friend” idea surprisingly well.

Speaking of the said best-friend, Joshua Leonard plays Andrew very well and allows you to get past the fact that yes, he is Josh from the Blair Witch Project (wait, isn’t he dead?). But that shouldn’t be a claim-to-fame that ruins him as a serious actor because the guy’s got a talent that makes you see him more as a real dude, rather than just a caricature of this total nut that just does whatever he wants in life, without any rhyme or reason. What I liked about Leonard here is that he seems like there’s more to him than just a wild-cat, and we start to see more and more revealing aspects to him that make us understand why he would also go through with something like this and also, even push his friend to do the same. It’s a great role for a guy that I think deserves more distinguished ones and it’s also a chemistry between the two that just feels real and honest, and also makes the whole “having sex” idea between the two all the more believable, a it becomes all the more painful to actually watch them as they try to get it on. Not going to spoil anything here but the scene where it’s just the two of them in a hotel room is absolutely hilarious and probably the best scene of the whole movie, for many reasons that you’ll just have to wait and see yourself, my friends.

Playing Duplass’ wife in the movie, Alycia Delmore seems to have more to her than we already expected and it’s a nice touch for her. I’ve never seen this gal in anything else before, but she seems like she’s a really talented actress because she takes the role of the jealous, annoying wife, and makes her more understandable and sympathetic enough in terms of where her view-point’s coming from. Her character gets a little weird at times, too, but it’s a believable weird and it was nice to see Shelton not only play around with the boys’ emotions, but the girls’ as well.

Consensus: Two obviously straight, male best-friends, getting ready to have sex in front of a camera is a bit of an odd premise, but it’s one that Humpday rolls with and doesn’t stop exploring until all of the layers have been unveiled, and each character has their own say on everything around them.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Humpday2

“Let’s get to it, right? Don’t be gay though!”

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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