The actors second film as director is so intent to please that its ultimately more cloying than affecting
John Krasinskis gift as an actor is that he never looks like hes trying. He appears so relaxed in front of the camera that his acting seems entirely effortless.
As a director, his second feature following Brief Interviews With Hideous Men proves that quality doesnt extending to his film-making. A mawkish household comedy, intent to please, The Hollars plays like an extended sitcom.
As John Hollar, a fighting graphic novelist living in New York with his very pregnant girlfriend Becca( Anna Kendrick ), Krasinski aptly leads the film, expending the predictable proceedings with enough heart to keep you mildly expended.
The paint-by-numbers plot is set in motion when Johns mother, Sally( the ever-reliable Margo Martindale ), suffers a seizure while doing her hair, causing John to travel home to be by his familys side.
The movies pervasive broad humor reek of a desperate endeavor at quirk. It announces itself in a hospital sequence that sees Sallys doctor enter her room apologizing for being late.
I was golfing, he deadpans.
When its revealed that she has an advanced brain tumor, Sallys husband, Don( Richard Jenkins ), have started to sobbing curiously, its played for laughs.
The potentially tragic outcome of her surgery doesnt visibly affect the well-being of John and two brothers, Ron( Sharlto Copley ), who both go about their lives more worried about their own dilemmas than about the health of their mother.
Ron, a divorced loon living in his mothers cellar, expends his days snooping( with binoculars !) on his ex-wife and children from his vehicle. John, scared of settling down with Becca, uses his time back home to visit an old flame( a wasted Mary Elizabeth Winstead ), who still harbors deep feelings for him.
Krasinski attempts to go for the jugular during a sequence in which John shaves his mothers head before she goes into surgery, but tonally it feels out of place with whats come before and therefore doesnt feel earned.
Theres little nuance to be found in The Hollars despite the castings best efforts( Martindale is especially affecting ). Fatally, Jim Strouses script mistakes character quirks( Becca works as a pet clothes designer; Sallys favorite snack is pretzels dipped in ice-cream) for character development.
Even worse, Krasinski crams The Hollars with an endless playlist of soft-rock music to telegraph every emotional cue – a sign he lacks confidence in the material.
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