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.
FILM REVIEW | ‘The Blind Side’: An Inspiring True Story‘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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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.