Https The-Happiness-Index.Com Getting-The-Most-Out-Of-Negative-Reviews Movie Review – Answers to Nothing (2011) (R)

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Movie Review – Answers to Nothing (2011) (R)

LA Stories

I can’t help but believe that somewhere inside Answers to the Left is the wonderful film that I really want to make. Told as a series of interweaving subplots linked to a single event, it focuses on a number of interesting and compelling issues, including infidelity, healing, loss, intolerance, love, faith, and strength of character. It features a decent cast, led by Dane Cook in his first dramatic role since the deliciously entertaining 2007 crime thriller mr. Brooks. It has, in short, all the right ingredients. Unfortunately, the film falls victim to indecisive editing, character overload, implausible dramatic situations, and surprisingly unconvincing dialogue. All this rests on the shoulders of director Matthew Leutwyler, who is also the co-writer and editor.

Taking place in Los Angeles, we meet many characters whose lives are somehow touched by the loss of a little girl. There’s Frankie, the detective assigned to the case (Julie Benz); although he has not been able to prove it, he seems convinced that the woman’s neighbor, Beckworth (Greg Germann), is responsible for her disappearance. In fact, he gives off creepy vibes in every scene he’s in. He even makes the extremely silly gesture of asking Frankie to dinner during his interrogation. Frankie’s friend, a lawyer named Kate (Elizabeth Mitchell), tries to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. She desperately wants a child that at first she fails to see then turns a blind eye to the infidelity of her husband, a therapist named Ryan (Cook). He dates an up-and-coming rock singer named Tara (Aja Volkman), who is gigging but hasn’t gotten her big break yet.

Ryan doesn’t believe in anything, least of all love. He was angry with his father for leaving his mother and not telling him the truth. His mother, Marylin (Barbara Hershey), is undoubtedly the happiest person in the entire film, even though it’s clear that she’s doing nothing but blind faith. He tries to instill this in Ryan by telling him over and over the incredibly romantic story of how his grandparents met during World War II. Whether or not it happened the way he tells it, no one is sure. I did not criticize him as such; I’ll take happy lies over sad truths any day of the week and twice on Sunday. She even makes a good point about how her love for Ryan lacks empirical evidence. The only way he knew she loved him was because she believed him when he told her.

We now branch further into subplots that are either (a) so distantly related to the child abduction subplot that they seem to belong in another movie, or (b) so badly developed that they shouldn’t have been included in the first place. Kate’s current client is a recovering alcoholic named Drew (Miranda Bailey), who is fighting with her parents for custody of her brother Erik (Vincent Ventresca), a former runner who is now a vegetable. . She seeks redemption by entering herself and Erik in the LA Marathon, and by training hard for it. Meanwhile, we learn that Frankie is a single mother. In her only significant scene, Frankie’s teenage daughter (Karley Scott Collins) has a great conversation with her teacher about Martin Luther King. The teacher, Carter (Mark Kelly), spends most of his time playing fantasy games on the internet. He is also, for reasons known only to the filmmakers, obsessed with the case of the missing woman.

Then there’s Ryan’s patient, a self-loathing black woman named Allegra (Kali Hawk). A television writer, she soon meets and begins dating a white man named Evan (Zach Gilford), who sits in a booth and balances the sound for Tara’s band. Something could have been developed here if it wasn’t just a subplot. It deserves a film in itself. As it is, Evan is a nonentity, and the root of Allegra’s problems — including an extensive and arbitrary list of things she hates — remains unknown. Finally, there’s Carter’s neighbor, Jerry (Erik Palladino), who is introduced when he pulls Tara over for speeding. In due course, we see him scanning obituaries and attending certain funerals.

Inevitably, some will compare this film to Paul Haggis’ crash, where Los Angeles is the setting for several interweaving stories that address social issues. Unlike this Oscar-winning masterpiece, Answers to the Left less focused. It spends too much time on some subplots, not enough time on others, and develops them all on the idea that there are real answers to nothing. Some scenes seem to have been included for purposes of no more than creating drama, most notably a pointless and implausible confrontation between Carter and Beckworth late in the film. Many passages of dialogue, including Marilyn’s observations about faith and love, sound less like flowing theatrical conversations and more like sermons from a speech and debate class. I’m always saddened when a good idea is spoiled by poor execution.

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