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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Hollars (2016)

A struggling graphic novelist and artist (John Krasinski, who also directed) is in a relationship with a wealthy girl (Anna Kendrick) who is expecting his baby and fatherhood and marriage isn't something he's ready for. But a major crisis pushes this dilemma on the back burner when his mother (Margo Martindale) is diagnosed with a brain tumor and he flies to Mississippi to be by her side. Despite the grim sounding synopsis, this is a comedy! It's yet another dysfunctional family comedy where everyone is united by a family tragedy but it's a good one. The script is strong and the ensemble cast is impeccable. For fans of the wonderful Martindale, it's a treat to see her in a major role. My only complaint is that there's very little spontaneity, everything including every laugh seems planned right down to the inch. And that's what keeps it from being something special instead of another riff on movies like TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. Also, I'm not a fan of Josh Ritter whose songs provide the film's underscore which didn't help. But it's a more than decent movie and if your eyes water more than once, you can either resent the manipulation or give in. I gave in. The terrific cast includes Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Mary Kay Place and Josh Groban (don't snicker, he's good).

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