Capone isn't sure that people like you will like PEOPLE LIKE US!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
The feature directing debut from mega-successful science-fiction/adventure writer (STAR TREK, TRANSFORMERS, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III) Alex Kurtzman (who wrote this along with his writing partner Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert) is a classic example of chemistry and reliable acting saving an over-baked story. Were it not for the magical acting powers of Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, PEOPLE LIKE US might have been a very painful film to endure. Instead, what we get is a curious story about a slick salesman (Pine) who returns to the home in which he grew up and finds out that he has a half-sister he never knew about, courtesy of his philandering father.
I assume situations like this occur a bit more frequently than we may realize, but that doens't stop this scenario from feeling a little forced, bordering on false. But Banks (playing a bartender and struggling single mom) and Pine co-exist so well together that they bring believability into the picture. Banks' Frankie also is a recovering substance abuser who hadn't seen the father since she was a kid, and is having a tough time dealing with abandonment issues that clearly have fueled her history of bad choices in men and left her son a mess of a kid who likes to blow up pools. The introduction of Pine into their lives (he doesn't reveal their connection right away) is almost more than she can handle, even though he presents himself as a guy who has no interest in sleeping with her and only wants to help her and the kid out. Naturally, she thinks he's too good to be true.
Frankie is a woman who has no time for a man in her life. She has sex when she needs it with the sweet, slightly weird dude who lives in the apartment below her (played by the underused Mark Duplass of all people); Pine is a guy who is so focused on making money that he barely has time for the beautiful girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) who desperately wants to guide him through this time in his life where he's both bitter and in mourning over his father. His mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) isn't much help, and he seems to get the greatest comfort from a woman who doesn't even know they're related and going through the same struggles.
This is all subtext of the script; the problem is the text of the script isn't nearly as interesting as what lies beneath. Kurtzman and Orci aren't happy unless there are big moments or drastic dramatic shifts in the story, and none of that is necessary or as interesting as just watching Pine and Banks interact, moan about their lives, and work things out. Those are the best moments in PEOPLE LIKE US, and there are simply not enough of them.
All of that being said, I hope Kurtzman is inspired to make more films like this one. He proves he has an ear for heartfelt, angst-ridden conversation, and I enjoyed hearing these two solid actors deliver his dialogue. Maybe next time he'll cut away the fat and get to the meat of his story a little more convincingly. PEOPLE LIKE US is a decent first effort, but there's not quite enough there to fully recommend it.
-- Steve Prokopy
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June 29, 2012, 4:14 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 4:18 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 4:18 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST
makes sense so when does the 3 way with pine, pfeiffer and banks happen?
June 29, 2012, 4:37 p.m. CST
They're some of the worst offenders of "and then" plotting I've ever seen. They're masters at making a film where scenes keep happening in a sequential order and we're supposed to believe that they create a cohesive story, but in reality have no effect on each other. Writers are supposed to link scenes with "therefores" or "buts" not "and thens" Perfect example in Star Trek. Kirk is jettisoned off of the Enterprise and then he is chased by a monster and then he meets Old Spock and then he is taken to meet Scotty. None of these events have any relationship to each other (outside of convenience) but are played back-to-back devoid of meaning or evolution. It's so bizarre that they follow a "so" transition. Spock is upset with Kirk so he jettisons him from the Enterprise, creating two scenes that are linked through character decisions instead of things happening because the plot requires that they do.
June 29, 2012, 5:20 p.m. CST
by Gary Makin
June 29, 2012, 8:02 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 8:03 p.m. CST
June 29, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST
seriously, his reviews have gotten worse and worse. He trashes good movies like this and overpraises the most mediocre films.
June 30, 2012, 4:04 a.m. CST
Kurtzman and Orci's writing is dreadful. Their entire filmography is amateur hour. Unfortunately people like gmakin keep lapping that shit up and the rest of us have to suffer.
June 30, 2012, 4:44 a.m. CST
They have to make something good first before we can test your theory.
June 30, 2012, 5:49 a.m. CST
looking to buy the rights to your story.
June 30, 2012, 3:06 p.m. CST
by Mel Garga
June 30, 2012, 3:19 p.m. CST
by Mel Garga
It just seems that so many female actresses are interchangeable flavor-of-the-week types; part of Hollywood's chew 'em up and spit 'em out culture. Someone get me Holly Hunter or Debra Winger on the phone.
July 1, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST
July 1, 2012, 11:06 a.m. CST
shiftyeyeddog - you must be one fucking idiot if you think this film is well written. Go erad some fucking books dickhead, that way you'll know what is good writing
July 1, 2012, 11:10 a.m. CST
gmakin - you must be fucking idiot number 2, if you believe Orcunti & Fucksman can actually write. Go read some books dickhead
July 1, 2012, 2:51 p.m. CST
by Gary Makin
I bet you wouldn't say that to my face, troll.
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