Film Review: ‘Are You Here’ Feels Like Mashup of Two Different Films

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

The story of two dysfunctional friends who go to the country because one of them has inherited the farm sounds ho-hum just in that description, and everything that happens seems wedged in by presenting a series of assigned stereotypes instead of interesting characters. Owen Wilson, now pushing 50, is again portraying his familiar puppy dog womanizer character, which is now as creaky as his standard tousled hair cut. Zach Galifianakis again plays the puffy and confused stoner manboy, but at least he gets a significant twist towards the end. This is one of those rare films that gets more intriguing in the last act, only to have the curtain come down and provide a collective, “what?”

Steve (Owen Wilson) is a local Virginia weatherman known for his appetite for alcohol, marijuana and women. He lives a surface oriented life, barely coming up for air, except in taking care of his childhood friend Ben (Zach Galifianakis). When Ben finds out his father has passed away, he must go back to his rural childhood home and attend the funeral. He takes Steve along, and at the reading of the will Ben finds out that he has inherited his father’s assets, a grocery store and a farm.

This angers his sister Terry (Amy Poehler), who wants to challenge the inheritance. In the meantime, there is the matter of their father’s much younger widow Angela (Laura Ramsey), who receives little from the estate and has no place to go. Steve, Ben and Angela become temporary housemates, and their interactions begin to cause changes in both Ben and Steve. Some redemptions and revelations follow, as the characters take different paths.

“Are You Here” has a limited release, including Chicago, on August 22nd. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Laura Ramsey, Edward Hermann and Peter Bogdanovich. Written and directed by Matthew Weiner. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Are You Here”

Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler
Ben (Zach Galifianakis), Steve (Owen Wilson) and Terry (Amy Poehler) Spar in ‘Are You Here’
Photo credit: Millennium Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Are You Here”

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