Ari Graynor (below, left, as Jones' BFF) and Eric Christian Olsen (below, right, as Graynor's guy), they're annoyed as hell about this cute interplay between the characters essayed by Samberg and Jones. Once we discover the reason for their annoyance, the plot kicks into action and we're off & running.
Chris Messina, the go-to guy for just about anything you need; Emma Roberts, above, as an up-and-coming musical star to the audience we used to call the bubble-gum crowd (is it me, or is Ms Roberts growing more versatile and more assured with each new role?); Elijah Wood, below, as Jones' sweet gay boss; and Rebecca Dayan as the beautiful young woman who comes (back) into Samberg's life.
Will McCormack, shown at right in the photo at bottom, also appears in the ensemble as another friend in the group. He's fine, as is everyone on view, but I think it is the screenplay, more than any single other element, that makes this movie work as well as it does. It's smart about people, particularly the L.A. variety, and it's both quick and (usually) quite light on its feet. Unlike so many rom-coms, this one forces you stay alert. You have to make connections on your own; there's less spoon-feeding of the usual elements ensured to make you feel happy and secure.
The Vicious Kind (you can stream it via Netflix), you'll be familiar with the work of Lee Toland Krieger, who both wrote and directed that odd and oddly appealing movie. Krieger knows about dark themes and how to bring them into the light -- and vice-versa -- and his sensibility seems awfully close to that of Jones' and McCormack's (if it wasn't to begin with, he's done a yeoman job of aligning it). His pacing, his attention to bringing out the best in even the smallest roles, his refusal to get too "stylish" but instead concentrate on character and event, and above all his ability to make that aforementioned chemistry absolutely palpable amongst the entire cast -- all this helps bring the movie home.
Sony Pictures Classics and running just 89 minutes, opens Friday, August 3 in New York and Los Angeles. As soon as I can determine the theatrical venues in both cities, I'll add them to this post.
TrustMovies attended a particularly enjoyable roundtable interview between the film's co-writer/actors, Ms Jones and Mr. McCormack, and its director, Mr. Krieger, and a half dozen of us bloggers. The questions were smart and germane and the filmmakers' answers were even better. All three proved thoughtful, well-spoken and genuinely interested in communicating. This is so different from the odd time in which you get a performer who is simply bored as hell with all that's going on. And it is hard to blame him or her, when they've probably had to do this a thousand times already. Still, how lovely and fun it is to sit around talking with young professionals who still have their enthusiasm at the ready.
Among the topics under discussion were love and relationships in both life and the movies, and just now, listening to a recording of that roundtable, it strikes me that there are an awful lot of "spoilers" present and spoken of. So -- because I'd rather have you enjoy the movie fully, surprises and all -- I think it best to just thank the performers/filmmakers for their time, and suggest you see this enjoyable, unusual movie ASAP.