Stop us if you've heard this one before: It’s a Sundance dramedy about a mope who returns from the big city to his hometown to deal with family issues, and finds both hometown and family issues unchanged (depressingly so), yet somehow alien to him now. Directed by John Krasinski (who also stars), it’s as generic as it sounds, right down to the indie-folk soundtrack full of “hey ho” guitar songs. When Sally Hollar (Margo Martindale) is diagnosed with a tumor, son John (Krasinski) rushes home to Ohio, soon followed by his pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) for support. The clichés pile up. John’s dad (Richard Jenkins) has money problems; his trainwreck brother (Sharlto Copley) can’t let his ex-wife go; there’s contrived wackiness around John’s old girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) still having the hots for him. As written by James C. Strouse (whose first Sundance script, Lonesome Jim, was similar), the humor is often broad—a slap-fight here, someone assuming an Asian doctor knows martial arts there—while the drama is rudimentary and weightless, demanding emotions without earning them. Martindale and Jenkins give endearing performances that this by-the-numbers film doesn’t deserve.
Director: John Krasinski
Producer: John Krasinski, Tom Rice, Allyson Seeger, Ben Nearn, Michael London, Janice Williams, Mike Sablone and Jim Strouse
Cast: John Krasinski, Margo Martindale, Sharlto Copley, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Josh Groban, Randall Park, Mary Winstead, Mary Place, Ashley Dyke, Didi Costine and Isabela Costine