When the only way you can really humanize your main characters is to have all of their acquaintances be horrendous monsters or living saints, I’d say you might have a problem with your characters. But I suppose clueless is preferable to maliciousness in the particular socio-political memeplex of the intended audience.
This is an unfair characterization, but I attended the film under a kind of duress. The duress of love that has lead me to things like ballets and opera and other pasttimes of people of high birth and those who aspire to be as such also leads to things like this. It was neither good nor horrible; neither believable nor unbelievable; neither pain nor pleasure. It was a null state. As someone who is experiencing a small part of the film’s topic at the moment, I was surprised at how removed I feel we are from the questions raised in the film. I don’t think this is due to overconfidence – I am utterly and completely terrifed, with a smattering of excitement and joy peaking through the horror haze – but rather that the ParkSlopeian/Eggarian/manchild current can utterly and completely fuck itself to death.
To be truly fair, I have neither the emotional distance or desire to really be able to review film, much less a film related to Mr. Eggars. He is to written comedy what Chuck Klosterman* is to music criticism; an abbatoir of the human spirit. That’s a complicated way of saying “Man I totally don’t get McSweeney’s” and not as in “I don’t get their references” but more like “I don’t fucking understand why they don’t kill themselves for the betterment of mankind and of the mental landscape of this once great United States.” It’s just not funny, and a symptom of a sickness that allows the children of the mids and up – the target audience – to feed their self-regard.
Rather than seeing the film, I would recommend reading reviews of it online; Feministing had an interesting (if a bit vicious) dogfight in the comments section concerning it; oddly enough, Townhall.com loved it. Pick sources at random and read away, and absorb their biases and interests as cultural research. It’s far more interesting than the movie was. I would personally agree most wholeheartedly with the ever entertaining Armond White; I know so little about film that I can often follow only a small part of his writing, but I can say with all confidence and sincerity that he is most certainly the anti-Eggars, the Anti-Klosterman.
On a positive note, I must once again recommend Cobble Hill Cinema as a place to see movies where people do not narrate, explicate or cell phone conversate during the movie.
* As I’ve been saying for years, he is a bottle of puke.