By David Poland email@example.com
Review-ish: People Like Us
People Like Us is the best screenplay with which Alex Kurtzman has ever been associated. It’s not perfect. It’s not even Cholodenko-level, much less the Mazurzkian comedy/drama at which he seems to have been aiming. But it’s pretty damned good. Interesting idea, reasonably solid story structure (too much repetition, not enough of the mother, not enough response to events)… you could do a lot worse than to see this film coming out of the studio system.
The performances are excellent. Chris Pine finally delivers another gear and he makes it look like he’s been navigating this range of skills and emotion forever. Pfeiffer is great… albeit a little underused. Elizabeth Banks is solid, though is forced to spend a lot of time reacting or being pensive. The kid is quite good too.
The biggest problem with this film is a first-time director who is trying SO HARD that it actually distracts from the script. It’s like Kurtan has seen so much Bay and Tony Scott that he thought he could make a movie that topped theirs by having all the visual and real emotion on top of it. He was wrong.
This is the kind of script that a good indie director could have made a grand meal of. It doesn’t call, in any way, for the attempted visual fireworks. The editing – and it’s a very good editor – made me insane. Stop already!
I truly wish Kurtzman had the $3 million that this film is normally made for and not whatever Disney gave him to keep him happy blowing stuff up elsewhere. His vision would have been better served.
The movie is still serviceable. Quite good at times. This is a career changer for Pine, who will be seen differently by quality filmmakers after they see his work here. And I, for one, will look forward to Kurtzman’s next effort behind the camera… so long as it’s as light in CG and heavy on humanity as this film.