Julian Farino, shown at right, and screen-writers Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss) have been around the humanity block a few times and know whereof they speak. Their movie has to do with two sets of families -- neighbors whose kids kids have been friends since practically birth -- and the various friendships, couplings and uncouplings that take place over a certain course of time. Their movie also has to do with happiness and how this "h" word fits into the rest of our lives (and our responsibilities).
Alia Shawkat (above) who plays the angriest family member, a girl just beyond her teens who has never been quite as pretty or popular...
Leighton Meester, above, as a young lady who is having big trouble finding herself).
Hugh Laurie (at right) and Catherine Keener (below, left). Three of the above actors are always expert (not being a TV watcher, I know much less about Mr. Laurie's nine-year career on House), and they are as good here as they've ever been. (Laurie's fine, too, in a particularly tricky role.) Mr. Platt, who last year played opposite Keener in Please Give, is wonderfully funny and always real, and Ms Janney gives us what is fast becoming her special schtick -- officious and brittle with a heart long buried -- about as well as it can be done.
Shawkat has a sibling, too (played by Adam Brody, below), who has a wonderful scene with Meester, early on. Brody is such a good actor (see Death in Love and Damsels in Distress for two more examples) that my one disappointment with this movie is that he was not used a bit more.
ATO Pictures -- this film is my favorite of everything this new distribution company has so far released -- the movie opens this Friday, October 5, in major cities (often at several theaters in each) all across the country. To see a complete listing of cities and theaters, simply click here.