A predictable, boring romance that falls into a number of typical indie traps, this drama highlights the sexual attraction between a young married woman and her studly new neighbor. I should mention that she’s married to Seth Rogen; if a movie about a pretty young girl falling out of love with her well-meaning, but shlubby husband for a callous, but handsome and well-built rickshaw driver doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, avoid this movie. They first meet at an airport, where they have a natural physical connection that is carried over on the plane (they are seated right next to each other) and the ride home after they land (they live right across the street from each other!). The woman decides to avoid the sweaty, intense hottie across the street like the plague, but, inevitably, their paths keep crossing, and before you know it, they are going out and gallivanting around town on the reg (innocently, of course). Now, the cheery, gorgeous couple must negotiate their unwavering sexual chemistry with the humdrum normalcy of the poor young woman’s life…I wonder how that’s gonna turn out!
If my synopsis seems facetious, it is only to match the insulting, tone-deaf vibe of the film. Of course they’re gonna end up together, there is never any question of it, for director Sarah Polley (so much better as an actress) uses every trick at her disposal (mostly cribbed from the “manic pixie dream girl” bin) to establish that the potential pelvic gyrations between the two are far more crucial than any boring domestic bliss. This sucks all of the tension and warmth out of the scenes between Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen (as the married couple), as we are forced to watch Rogen’s character unknowingly provide validation for Williams’ increasingly flighty behavior. Rogen’s performance is a dramatic one, but is still cut from the same cloth as his comedic persona, meaning he is clueless, goofy, and unwaveringly well-meaning. Williams tries her hardest to invest her character with some pathos and empathy, but her mindblowingly naive and destructive behavior subverts Williams’ natural charm and fragility. Sarah Silverman also turns in a strong performance as Rogen’s sister, stretching beyond her comfort zone to give real depth to her depressed, recovering alcoholic. Aside from Luke Kirby, who is a nothing presence in a nothing role as the handsome artist Williams falls for, the performances are strong all around, but they are in service of a strained, painful indie script that does not have enough originality to justify its sadistic, wishy-washy sense of love and human connection. The visuals are lively, making Toronto into a colorful, interesting backdrop for the turgid, half-dead interpersonal relationships on display. The ending is successful only in ending the film, for it goes on way too long and cowardly avoids the bittersweet conclusion hinted at, but never paid off, in the final scenes. With the reviews this film was getting after its festival run last year, I had hoped to see something revelatory, or, at the very least, truthful; what I got was cookie-cutter indie dreck, the kind of bullshit, cutesy oddball tripe that makes most American audiences steer clear of smaller films.
Skip It, save for hardcore Rogen, Williams, or Silverman fans. There are good performances and visuals on display here, but the film as a whole is an annoying, painful mess that unsuccessfully strains to keep itself relevant for an hour and a half.