The Movie Waffler New Release Review - People Like Us | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - People Like Us

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D'Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass

When his record producer father dies, Pine discovers he has a sister he was previously unaware of.

Pine's character is introduced in one of those classic Hollywood fluff openings, setting him up as a bit of a cad, though certainly charismatic. He works in "bartering", a trade which is made to look a lot more simplistic here than I suspect it actually is. Ignoring a series of phone calls from his mother (Pfeiffer), he arrives home to girlfriend Wilde who breaks the news that his father has passed away. Reluctantly Pine heads out to Los Angeles but manipulates events so as to arrive late for the funeral. Desperate for money, he's excited at the prospect of an inheritance but is shocked to find his father has left $150,000 to Banks, a sister Pine never knew existed. At first he plans to keep the money himself but curiosity gets the better of him and he befriends Banks and her precocious son D'Addario.
On paper it's a story with promise but as this is from the writers of the "Transformers" trilogy, dramatic detail is traded for cliched montages underscored by seventies rock classics. It seems Kurtzman has been taking notes from Michael Bay and has adopted the same ADD style of film-making, all flashy edits and camera moves that seem to go nowhere. The general feeling is of an extended episode of one of those family drama shows that always seem to air on Sunday evenings. Perhaps Kurtzman should have hired W.G Snuffy Walden to score the film. The uncomfortable theme of a woman becoming attracted to a man she doesn't know is her brother is glossed over, lost among the hard rock and orange sunsets.
Pine is an admittedly charming screen presence but he lacks the range for this character and at times it seems he's on the verge of romancing Banks rather than just expressing brotherly feelings. Pfeiffer would seem at least ten years too young for her role, given the historical context of her back-story. The most convincing performance comes courtesy of Banks though you can't help wish they'd played the story more for laughs. Her stint on TV's "30 Rock" showed her to be a fine comic performer. Sadly for Banks, her character is paper thin, one of those remarkably good looking recovering alcoholics you only find in films of this ilk. 
Kurtzman should stick to giant robots as he seems clueless when it comes to presenting convincing human characters.
People Like Us (2012) on IMDb 7.1/10