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Non-Review Review: Jeff Who Lives at Home

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012. As the movie’s getting a delayed Irish release this weekend, I thought I’d share it again.

There’s a common misconception about the films of Mark and Jay Duplass. It’s easy to confuse their films with comedies. Just look at the cast they assembled for Cyrus, including Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly (with Marisa Tomei taking home her Oscar for a comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny), or even the one they’ve gathered here. After all, Jason Segel is still most recognisable from How I Met Your Mother or The Muppets or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Ed Helms’ filmography includes The Office and The Hangover and Cedar Rapids. While Jay and Mark Duplass include a wonderful amount of humour in their work, it tends to distract away from their core themes or ideas. Beneath the awkward triangle in Cyrus, there’s a coming-of-age family drama. Underneath the witty exterior of Jeff Who Lives at Home, there’s a sincere and optimistic romantic drama. And I’m a sucker for romantic drama.

Rub a dub dub, two men in a tub…

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Non-Review Review: Stupid Crazy Love

Stupid Crazy Love suffers a bit from being a tad inconsistent, fluctuating between compelling character drama and well-observed romantic comedy. It isn’t an issue that movie fails at either of these, it just runs into a bit of bother bouncing between the two extremes. The ending might be a little trite, and a tad conventional, but the movie manages to raise some interesting ideas along the way. Still, it allows Steve Carell his best big screen appearance since The 40-Year-Old Virgin and makes for an alternatingly side-splittingly and heart-breakingly affecting movie.

Saving Ryan's Privates...

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Non-Review Review: Jeff Who Lives at Home

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

There’s a common misconception about the films of Mark and Jay Duplass. It’s easy to confuse their films with comedies. Just look at the cast they assembled for Cyrus, including Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly (with Marisa Tomei taking home her Oscar for a comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny), or even the one they’ve gathered here. After all, Jason Segel is still most recognisable from How I Met Your Mother or The Muppets or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Ed Helms’ filmography includes The Office and The Hangover and Cedar Rapids. While Jay and Mark Duplass include a wonderful amount of humour in their work, it tends to distract away from their core themes or ideas. Beneath the awkward triangle in Cyrus, there’s a coming-of-age family drama. Underneath the witty exterior of Jeff Who Lives at Home, there’s a sincere and optimistic romantic drama. And I’m a sucker for romantic drama.

Rub a dub dub, two men in a tub...

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Non-Review Review: My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny still works after all these years, I think, because it’s pretty broad and universal in its humour. It’s essentially two types of fish-out-of-water film blended together, simultaneously documenting a street-smart guy tangling with the red tape of legal bureaucracy, and offering a standard city-slickers adventure with “Noo Yawker” Vinny and his girlfriend adjusting to life in the Deep South. My Cousin Vinny is funny and frank, but never offensively so. It’s aware that it’s trading in caricatures and stereotypes, but never seems too mean in its portrayal of anybody.

Giving the legal system the fingers...

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Non-Review Review: Cyrus

Cyrus is a film that it’s hard to work up passion about in either direction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, to be entirely honest – I don’t actively dislike it or anything like that. It’s just an honest reflection on this attempt to merge the indie “mumblecore” sensibilities with more conventional mainstream movie-making. It’s funny in places, and features a great cast, but it ultimately feels far too self-assured, and more like it’s comfortable with its indie-movie clichés, rather than trying to tell its own story.

Family dysFUNction...

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Non-Review Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned criminal law ethical dilemma. I honestly think it was Primal Fear that sent me rushing off to law school, with its wonderful twisty plot about the relationship between innocence and guilt, lawyer and client in the criminal justice system. The Lincoln Lawyer isn’t quite as strong, but it’s certainly a worthy addition to one of the oft-ignored crime drama subgenres, anchored in superb central performances and a powerful little hook.

He rests his case...

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Non-Review Review: The Wrestler

The Wrestler was one of my award-season purchases that arrived on schedule (I waited two weeks for Frost/Nixon and Milk has still to arrive), so the family sat down to watch the one movie that we’d heard could have been a contender, to mix our sporting film metaphors. Was it a world champion, or just a bunch of sweaty has-beens trying to recapture their glory days?

I know steroids explain the muscles, but what's up with that hair?

I know steroids explain the muscles, but what's up with that hair?

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