Movie Review - Me Him Her

Dustin Milligan in 'Me Him Her'
I feel like I'm noticing a pattern in movies that involve romances. Filmmakers, almost out of laziness or unnecessary obliqueness, don't feel the need to let characters get to know one another, and thus the audience. It's almost a reflection or consequence of Mumblecore that presupposes the current youth generation, all those 30 and under, don't know how to communicate intelligently. The language in something like Dawson's Creek rings discordantly because it's never really been duplicated. Characters don't seem to think before they speak. Rational thought seems to be an anathema to comedy. Even though Max Landis, the writer-director here, has drawn comparisons to Woody Allen, his script is far from possessing the kind of wit and sharpness of an Allen screenplay.

The sense of humor is revealed in the very first scene, which has the male, romantic lead sitting on a toilet with fart noises abound. This is far from Alvy Singer or any of Allen's surrogates. It's less Allen and more Apatow, Judd Apatow, meaning it's all just so juvenile. The lead is like a skinnier Seth Rogen. He's a similar man-child. It's sad because Landis wrote the screenplay for Chronicle (2012), which is vastly smarter with teenagers who are way more intelligent and adult, and, despite being a drama centering on a disturbed youngster, Chronicle possesses more effective comedic moments than this current film.

The amount of jokes per scene or the level of silliness is higher in this movie, which is Landis' directorial feature-debut. The question is how many of those jokes are effective. The answer is not many. Starting with the premise, most of everything falls flat. The scenario feels a decade or two too old. It's essentially about a white, privileged and wealthy twenty-something, possibly 30-year-old male who is scared to come out as gay.

Luke Bracey (Point Break and The Best of Me) stars as Brendan Ehrlick, a very popular actor who is headlining a hit TV series called "Hard Justice." He fears that coming out as gay will ruin his career. Presumably, this film is set in the present-day. Yet, there is no context or acknowledgment of gay men in the media. There's no acknowledgment of Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer, Alan Cumming, Zachary Quinto, Wentworth Miller, Jussie Smollett and Russell Tovey. All these men are openly gay but play heterosexual roles with the exception of Smollett, and are all still successful. The fact that this movie doesn't acknowledge these men or that reality makes Landis' premise a bit out of touch. Yes, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that coming-out is still difficult for some young people in middle America, but this film takes place in Hollywood.

Dustin Milligan (The Butterfly Effect 2 and Shark Night 3D) co-stars as Cory Isaacson, an office worker in Florida who tried to work out in Los Angeles but failed. Somehow, he and Brendan are friends, but Landis' script never fills in that gap. Brendan calls Cory and flies him out to California to be his moral support, as Brendan navigates coming out. That speaks something about their friendship, but not enough. Cory is more of an extrovert who is very bold and quite impulsive, whereas Brendan is more an extrovert. Milligan and Bracey aren't good enough to sell why the two would hang out.

It's less their performances. Again, Landis' script is more the failure here. Despite their surface, personality traits, not much about Brendan and Cory can be reported. I have no clue what Brendan and Cory like or what they dislike. I don't know what their favorite foods, favorite past-times or favorite anything are. I don't know where they went to school, college-wise, if at all, or much that would help to color in biographical sketches of these people.

Emily Meade (The Leftovers and My Soul to Take) also co-stars as Gabbi, a lesbian or a girl questioning her sexuality who just broke up with another girl with whom she's been involved for two years. She gets hysterical and a bit depressed. She also gets drunk, runs into Cory and decides to have sex with him. The next morning, she's confused about it.

Whatever her sexuality is, it doesn't matter. Landis is making a romantic comedy where the obvious trajectory is that Cory and Gabbi will end up together. The problem is similar to my problem with the aforementioned relationship between Brendan and Cory. The relationship between Cory and Gabbi isn't developed. Aside from surface, personality traits, we learn nothing deeper about the two of them.

There are a couple of ridiculous scenes between the two where one or both ramble. Actually, Gabbi mostly rambles, but she never says anything substantial. Supposedly, her issue is her questioning sexuality. It's good that Landis' script isn't judgmental about young people being with whomever they choose, regardless of sex, but Landis' script again fails because the situation is obviously stacked.

Gabbi has a choice of either Cory or her ex-girlfriend, Heather, played by Angela Sarafyan. Cory is held up as the adorable, fun-loving guy, whereas Heather is held up as this cartoonishly evil person, so Gabbi's choice is predictably obvious. Landis' script should have made the choice more balanced. Heather shouldn't have been so evil in other words. The way Gabbi and Cory even meet feels so contrived and forced.

The rest of the supporting cast is so under-used. Geena Davis and Scott Bakula play Brendan's parents. Davis is so good at comedy and to not give her more to do feels like a waste, and Bakula is basically playing the same role he had in Geography Club. Jake McDorman (Limitless) comes out of nowhere and who knows why he does what he does. Allegedly, McDorman's character kisses Bracey's before the opening of the movie, but who knows why or what prompted it.

One Star out of Five.
Not Rated but contains language and sexuality.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.

If one wants to see something more interesting about young people dealing with their sexuality in more believable and more in-depth ways and that's extremely funnier, check out the British series Banana.

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