The Kidd Vs. PEOPLE LIKE US
There’s a thick layer of awkward that constantly sits atop Alex Kurtzman’s directorial debut PEOPLE LIKE US (he also penned the script with longtime partner Bob Orci and Jody Lambert). The film attempts to mesh two parallel lives, Sam (Chris Pine) and Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), who share the commonality of having the same shitty father – different moms though. When Sam returns home after the death of Dad, he learns that he had this secret half-sister that no one ever told him about. He has strict instructions to give this woman and her son $150,000 left behind in his father’s will, while he had to settle on an extensive record collection. However, while he’s trying to figure out how to break the news, he’s getting closer to the family, integrating himself in their lives, borrowing from the romantic comedy conceit of not telling the truth in the beginning, so things only get more complicated later on when the reveal becomes a must. But this isn’t a romantic comedy… this is a situation involving a severely fractured family, in the way that neither side ever knew the other existed. Therefore, no matter how smooth Chris Pine can be or how strong-willed Banks comes across as, there’s a weird incestuous vibe that plagues their budding relationship together. When the movie examines their individual paths of how they got to where they are today or their experiences with a less than ideal father, PEOPLE LIKE US does have something good going for it. But… and I get the whole “How do you tell someone you’re their long lost brother?” dilemma… as much time as they spend together, there’s this worry plaguing the film that sis is going to put the moves on big brother, because she doesn’t know any better. It’s a dreadful feeling that hurts the movie, but Kurtzman is never able to resolve their relationship effectively enough as platonic, because Banks and Pine have an on-screen chemistry that can’t be hidden by the simple suggestion that they’re supposed to be family sort of.
The most intriguing idea PEOPLE LIKE US works with is the dichotomy of Sam and Frankie’s relationship with the same man. He was an absent father to both really, ignoring his full-time family for his music producing career, and then leaving behind his other family for the full-time family, which he didn’t spend much time with to begin with. Sam had some access to his father, yet wishes it was less, because of the contentious nature of their relationship over time, as a result of having a dad who was never there. Frankie, on the other hand, wishes she had more, because, in the limited time she spent with him, she felt like she had a real dad. But it’s easy to assume she would have found herself in a similar predicament as her half-brother.
That really turns into a captivating scenario, due to Pine and Banks. Pine is able to let the pain of what he had with his father shine through his fast-talking, wheeling-dealing ways, and there’s a vulnerability to Banks, as a woman whose lack of a father figure surely contributed to all the other things that have come up less than rosy throughout her life. There’s a tough shell to Frankie, but, as with Pine, you can see it’s merely a cover for the mess that was left behind by having one shitty parent.
There’s a kid involved, too, but the character never does more than annoy or irritate, because, even with the hard work his mom is putting in to try to give him the best she can, he never strays from being an asshole, until he has his own father figure in Sam step in to set him straight. Sure, it’s another level to the damage having an absent parent can do, but it’s not nearly as effective as the deeper material Banks and Pine are working with, because young Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario) only comes across as ungrateful for the efforts in the overall equation.
PEOPLE LIKE US also decides to get way too sentimental with its 157 feel-good endings tacked on, in what feels like an extra 20 minutes of resolution that should have been capped at maybe one or two threads being nicely wrapped up. It may only be a shade under two hours, but not even the third act, but the ending itself feels like forever, never knowing when to pull the plug and send us on our merry way.
The emotion of Pine and Banks makes PEOPLE LIKE US better, but the weird vibes of their relationship ultimately torpedo a lot of that. It’s not the disaster of Kurtzman and Orci’s COWBOYS & ALIENS or TRANSFORMERS 2, proving that they indeed are capable of creating a film that doesn’t insult your intelligence. Perhaps this is the beginning of them doing something better, which isn’t a bad starting point at all.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
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June 28, 2012, 5:25 p.m. CST
s movie looks badthi
June 28, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST
by Anthony Torchia
it never escapes creepy, got it "reveal", not "revel" sorry for being a dick
June 28, 2012, 5:49 p.m. CST
avoid like the plague. Fast-talking fanboys that lucked out and now churn out shit after shit after shit.
June 28, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST
Is this film Kurtzman & Orci's way of saying: Hey, we can make a movie that doesn't have any of the following: aliens, action scenes, explosions, sci-fi stuff.
by Mr. Pricklepants
June 28, 2012, 6:02 p.m. CST
Why are ACN reviewing shitty zero-interest-generating films and making them sound good? Is the Kidd lodging his tongue firmly inside someone's arsehole? I think yes
June 28, 2012, 6:10 p.m. CST
Kidd - your reviews are the best on this site, hands down. I know a bunch of TBers give you shit for being so negative but I've never agreed. I think the reviews you post are real. They come from your real thoughts and emotions. I never have once gotten the sense that you're trying to kiss ass to the production team of a film (unlike other "reviewers" on this site... ahem...). Kudos to you and keep up the good, honest work - "negative" or not.
June 28, 2012, 6:16 p.m. CST
Not sure how you see that, man. The people who post regularly to this site are pretty much on the "in" with Orci, Kurtz, etc. Yet... Kidd still calls them out for not being good writers. I don't see how that's kissing ass. If this was another AIC reviewer, then yeah, I'd agree. Most, if not all of them, are constantly making sure they kiss ass in their reviews. If this would've been Harry, he would've gushed about how fun Orci and Kurtz are to spend the holidays for 4 paragraphs before mentioning anything about the film.
June 28, 2012, 6:24 p.m. CST
Not going to reward such nonsense. He has a huge house and all the coke and whores he wants from Transformers 2 and other abominations. He doesn't need my support as well.
June 28, 2012, 6:25 p.m. CST
June 28, 2012, 7:37 p.m. CST
they have to be, they are involved in like 1,376 writing projects................like earlier poster stated, if its got Abrams, Lindelof, Orci, or Kurtz on it, beware............Hollywood used to have many writers, now their names are on like 2/3 of the movies coming out. If its sci-fi, its probably them, as a given.
June 28, 2012, 8:02 p.m. CST
That was the best episode. What? Oh...
June 28, 2012, 8:47 p.m. CST
June 28, 2012, 8:50 p.m. CST
I am literally the only one here who gets that reference. Very funny series and that was a stand-out episode. The cop and the divorce attorney were also good.
June 28, 2012, 8:54 p.m. CST
This sounded skeezy from the start. Why can't he just tell her he's her brother from the start, just not about the money? It's like they're deliberately playing with the incest angle for titillation. It's weird..
June 28, 2012, 10:02 p.m. CST
by Miss 45
Everyone tells him how stupid his "vs" thing is but he won't give it up. Nope. No matter how many people tell him it's not cute, clever, or witty, he simply won't. give. it. up. Yep, he's a stubborn little bastard that one. Can't write worth a damn and doesn't seem to enjoy movies at all really, but he's tenacious nevertheless.
June 28, 2012, 10:14 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 6:21 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
Really, once you get to be in your 30s aren't you too busy to care about who your father really was and all that nonsense? That sort of stuff is fine for somebody Luke Skywalker's age or Harry Potter's age or whatever, but really, once you find your own identity what do you care about somebody else's? If some dude showed up at my door and told me he shared some of my DNA, I'd probably say "Nice meeting you, half-bro. Take care." and close the door.
June 29, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
The world is full of needy people who sign up for Facebook accounts so they can track down and stalk anybody they ever worked with or went to school with, anybody remotely related to them, and friends of friends of friends.