I experienced two different sides of the comedy spectrum today. To whit:
I really wanted to like this much more than I did. I don't have enough experience with mumblecore to say whether or not this is representative of it (Although another mumblecore movie, Hump Day, co-starring one of the co-directors of this movie, Mark Duplass, I thought was much better than this) I have to say for all the talent here, this didn't do that much to me. The problem for me, was it felt so inauthentic, sure it was a bunch of broken characters meeting eachother and trying to figure out life-I get that. But the main romance, between John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei rang really false. Mostly because Reilly, while damaged himself, seems like a prototypical nice guy, and Marisa Tomei, while beautiful, seems way too strange and too-close to the son (the main crux of the problem in the movie) it just doesn't seem like Reilly would actually put up with her no matter how beautiful she is. (And she is.) So, in that respect, despite its indie, lo-fi trappings, it is pretty much like any number of big screen romantic comedies where a woman acts crazy and a seemingly normal guy still falls for her. That being said, I have to admit, that John C. Reilly is a hell of an actor, and has a few quietly affecting moments here. But in the end, despite, having a few moments, its simply wasn't that funny or interesting to me. (The one real surprise, to me, was that it was produced by Tony and Ridley Scott.)
Ah, now this is more like it. A straight-up great entry in the Apatowian school of comedy. It was truly funny and truly heartfelt without it ever feeling like it was forced, pretty much in the vein of the best Apatow tradition. But he only produced here, and I think a lot of the credit should go to Kristen Wiig, who cowrote the screenplay, and Apatow/Freaks and Geeks alum, director Paul Feig. If there is justice this movie should make the likes of Kristen Wiig a star, but I have to point out the turns of Melissa McCarthy and Chris O' Dowd, who are both great here. McCarthy, in particular, rises above what could have been just a stereotypically raunchy role, to reveal a certain depth, and that she is actually one of the most well-adjusted of the bridesmaids. It doesn't matter, and it shouldn't, that this movie is a women-centric one, the truths here about friendship and finding oneself in the world are universal.