‘PEOPLE LIKE US’ (2012). Chris Pine stars in this drama about a man who learns he has family he didn't know about. Text © Rissi JC


October 9, 2012 6 Comments

No matter how badly we want life to conform to our idea of “perfect,” life has a way of upending our entire, comfortable world to challenge us. That’s the idea behind this charmer. A quirky little dramedy that may have been better had it trimmed out a scene or two. Considering it’s an interesting look at human behavior and the reactions we have when things don’t go our way, writers throw away too much potential.

People Like Us (2012) Film Review

At work, Sam (Chris Pine) is one of the best when it comes to the art of the con. Or to put it more politely, in the business world, the corporate barter. He just closes a major deal when his boss rains on his parade with bad news. His mistakes lead to a potential FTC investigation. He has bigger problems when he learns his father passes away after a long battle with cancer. Since he hasn’t been home in years, he’s not happy to be back. But with his devoted girlfriend, Hannah (Olivia Wilde) by his side, he returns. His mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) is less than pleased to see her son after the years he had no contact with his parents. Little does he expect that the only money he’s entrusted with has a note for Sam to see another person receives it.

Struggling to keep afloat, alcoholic and single mom Frankie Davis (Elizabeth Banks) is trying to raise her son, Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario) the best she can. With her son making trouble at school and news that her father dies, Frankie’s world gets worse. Sam investigates this money on his own, which leads him to track down Josh Davis. His search leads him to an AA meeting where he learns that Frankie is his sister.

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‘PEOPLE LIKE US’ (2012). Chis Pine plays a man who discovers family he didn't know he had. #FWarchives Click To Tweet

Films that explore human behavior in a very “real,” realistic way always earn brownie points with me. If they are done with enough pizzazz, usually I find a new favorite to gush over. However in comparison to the film We Bought a Zoo, this cannot touch how heartwarming the Matt Damon vehicle was. People Like Us is a script that could have gone horribly sideways and didn’t, but it doesn’t excuse its bouts of unexpected crudities.

If you can stick with this at least halfway, the film is a rewarding one. It so (so) easily could wander into slippery territory and instead focuses its energies on growing Sam. In this way, the movie shines and uses clever nuances to illustrate a charming picture of family life, sometimes even humorously so. Regrettably, that’s where some of the charm ends. The filming in that first half of the movie is a bit sketchy and not at all conducive to warming its viewer to the hidden gems. Additionally off-putting is some of the characters attitude and behavior. As a viewer, one scene specifically is more destructive than informative. Making up for an abrupt ending and other flubs is the few scenes that humorously show how similar Frankie and Sam are. Pacing and immoral characters notwithstanding, this is a sweet little film that didn’t get the attention most movies do.

There’s a lot of good in this movie. Essentially, with their flaws and mistakes, it’s a story about ‘people like us.’

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Find People Like Us digitally on Amazon Video

CONTENT: One scene depicts two characters using drugs. Other scenes involve alcohol consumption and one character is an alcoholic. Profanity consists of several uses of sh*t among other common profanities plus one use of the F-word. Frankie visits a neighbors apartment in the middle of the night for the purpose of a tryst [we see them up against furniture and wall removing clothes as things fall to the floor]; there is also some crude humor including Josh crushing on his teenage babysitter and a veiled reference to a sexual act as he claims that he knows “what to do” about it. There’s a few assumptions made about Frankie’s lifestyle – namely that she sleeps around. Frankie makes a move on Sam, not realizing who he is before he leaves. The film is PG13

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Ruth October 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I'd wondered about this one — thanks for the review!

  • Rosie October 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    First off… I LOVE THE NEW HEADER PIC! :D

    Secondly, I've been intrigued by this movie. But maybe that's because Chris Pine is in it. lol!

    You're not the first to have said the scriptwriters missed a great opportunity. And, even though I haven't seen the movie, I have to agree.

    Thanks for the review, Rissi!

  • Rissi October 10, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Ruth – hey! So great to see your name over here – you've been missed. :-)

    I liked this movie but felt it was too flawed to be overly excited about. The most I'd ever invest in this is to rent it again but there are some special moments and that is worth something. Hope you enjoy if you see it – and I'd look forward to your thoughts! :-)

    Rosie – aw! Thanks! This may be the most fun I've had designing a header yet. If ever there was one I could create a little crazy, it'd be this one. :-)

    LOL! Chris Pine is great! I always enjoy the films I've seen him in – prior to this, it was This Means War which sadly had some flaws but wound up being more fun than I gave it credit for. Here, I wish some of its conversation had been cut because it usually ruined what was otherwise a tender scene all in the name of "comedy." I have news for the script writers: It wasn't humorous.

    There are some redeeming qualities though – hope you enjoy if you see it. :-)

  • Lydia October 11, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    I just watched this one last night. I agree that it easily could have slipped into dangerous territory but I still felt uncomfortable and awkward watching some of the scenes between Sam and Frankie. I think Josh's crudity for shock value and humour was misused. I think Chris Pine did a wonderful job acting and overall the movie was good, but I wish a few of the scenes had been scripted differently. Thanks for the great review!

  • Rissi October 11, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Wow! Well said, Lydia – I agree 100%!

    For me, I didn't feel uncomfortable because I felt sure Sam (Pine) wouldn't allow anything to happen though from Frankie's POV, there is a feeling of awkwardness since she is clueless. As the viewer, we do feel for her. Josh's lines were often too crude to even be funny on any level but Chris Pine was FABULOUS, so… in addition to him, there were some special segments that maybe made up for some flaws. ;-D

    Thanks SO much for dropping by – do so again anytime. :-)

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