A promising start leads to disappointment in this romantic comedy from Harris Goldberg.

Story

In this romantic comedy, Matthew Perry plays a LA writer named Hudson who is dealing with a cognitive disorder known as depersonalization disorder. In essence he has a very warped view of reality that makes him feel like he’s not a part of reality leaving him essentially numb. After meeting the girl of his dreams, Sara (Lynn Collins) at a network pitch meeting, Hudson takes the audience on a whirlwind adventure as he bounces from psychiatrist to psychiatrist trying to find a cure for his disorder while keeping his relationship with Sara and his writing partner (Kevin Pollak) alive.

Good and the Bad

In this piece written and directed by Harris Goldberg, he attempts to tell an autobiographical story about what his struggle was like with depersonalization. In the beginning this film does a remarkable job of setting up the audience. A primary character is introduced, his conflict is introduced and well presented in a way that will make sense to the audience and soon afterwards a love interest is introduced. From here the story will predictably move into the territory of the new couple trying to find a way to beat through the adversity while making the audience laugh in the process.

That much they got right.

Starting in the second act of the film, the writer and director Harris Goldberg seems to lose his way. With Hudson moving into the new phase of seeking treatment from various shrinks, the story starts to lose its steam and the main character starts to lose his appeal. The moment that truly seemed to ruin it was the introduction of a psychiatrist (Mary Steenburgen) that ends up having an affair with Hudson. If the audience hadn’t tuned out by then, the laughably implausible sequence of events that occur here will likely do the trick.

Though in the end none of it really matters as the film will tie it all off. No real conclusion to the film and the big moment of triumph for the film’s protagonist comes across as so laughably simple you’ll wonder why you spent 93 minutes getting there.

The writing for the film does score on most points though. The comedy in the film is never meant to make its audiences laugh out loud. Instead viewers will be subjected to a much more cerebral type of humor. Always with a sharp bite to it though, the jokes came across well and kept the story moving at a brisk pace.

Where this release fails however is when it tries to be dramatic. One of the pivotal dramatic scenes for this film is near the beginning when Sara and Hudson are first becoming a true couple. And it comes complete with dialogue recycled from a chain email sent around that claims to read out the definition of love as described by little kids. At one point in the scene Sara sheds a little tear as she talks about how her grandmother has arthritis and can’t paint her toenails and so her grandfather does it for her even though he has arthritis. The majority the previous sentence should sound familiar to 99% of the people in the English speaking world that have email addresses.

The cast manages with the dialogue and the chemistry between the actors is evident. When Perry and Collins are on screen together, the two characters really did feel right for each other. When the two of them were fighting, it will genuinely cause a reaction from the audience and it’s certainly nice to know that they could still do that even when the story couldn’t.

Extras

Only two extras were included with the release of this film. The first is a behind the scenes look at the film with some of the crew and cast. Cast and crew members interviewed for the piece include Matthew Perry, Lynn Collins, Mary Steenburgen, Kevin Pollak and writer/director Harris Goldberg. The extra is really a standard piece with the actors and crew giving their thoughts on the story and their various characters.

Also included on the release is a commentary track featuring writer/director Harris Goldberg.

Overall

Despite a great start and a very lovable cast, the story lacks any sort of direction after the first third is completed. Filled with story twists that ultimately lead nowhere, the film has heart but little more than that. With little to carry it on, the film ultimately leaves the audience feeling little more than the title implies.

Final Grade: C-

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