Rebooting an oft used plot line, but to good effect… It’s simply the talent of the ensemble cast as well as directing vision that makes this film worth its weight.
A rather zealous but down-on-his-luck city trader reluctantly returns home when his father dies. It’s quite clear that familial ties are not quite kosher, so when he meets his father’s lawyer concerning his inheritance, he finds that his old man did in fact leave him something, money as it happens; only it’s not meant for him, but his second, secret family…
It is something of a drama, and a decent one at that, so if you’re in the mood for something with a specific tone/mood, then give it a look see… other than that, you may just want to see Michelle Pfeiffer turn in another role – she has been missed in recent years.
The Bottom Line
It takes a while for you to fully get invested in the story, mainly I believe, because the central character (the evermore visible Chris Pine) is not all that sympathetic, in fact, he can be a bit of a douchebag at times, but the rest of the cast keep you interested. Though, to be honest, I’m not really a fan of Chris Pine – he hasn’t really given me a reason to be a fan – but he does earn some brownie points for a good (non-one-dimensional) performance.
The story also moves along at its own mellow pace, but again, seemingly through peripheral elements, it somehow still keeps you involved enough to want to see what comes next (even if you kind of see it coming). It’s a pretty basic storyline that has been done before, but the solid performances from the ensemble cast, artful directing, rich score and eclectic soundtrack (played to A.R Rahman’s 60’s/70’s nostalgic rock tune) turn it into something memorable. Elizabeth Banks makes a change from her usual comedic/slightly nutty roles to embody the slightly off-centre emotional heart of the film.
So then, a pseudo re-treaded story, sprinkled with some intriguing, or colourful twists, in the form of characters and visual aesthetic, but it is one of the more decent offerings of late. The actors certainly do as much as they can with what they have. It won’t win any awards, but for fans of the genre or just the actors, it will hit the right buttons.
Joel’s two cents:
As Steven mentioned, the plot – while certainly not lacking in heart – doesn’t offer many surprises, in fact the outcome of the film can be spotted from a mile away almost making the final act an exercise in futility. Where People Like Us succeeds is in it’s charming characters that are just deep enough to come across as not entirely contrived. The character that spoke to me the most though was young Michael Hall D’Addario who plays the role of Josh – something about his performance just reminds me of a really young Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, then again those reckless misfit types have always had an appeal with me.
People Like Us is an interesting albeit unremarkable dramedy that with a tighter script could have been something really special, instead it’s a fun Sunday afternoon rental that won’t disappoint.