David Wexler's new rom-com-dram about love and loss is, "How the hell did a guy like this get a girl like that?" To the film's great credit, by the finale -- when our hero has moved from one beauty to the next, growing up a bit in the process -- you'll accept it as pretty much par for his course. After all, it is just a movie. And not a bad one, either, once you agree to play by its rather odd rules.
THE STAND UP has a dual meaning, as it turns out. The lead character, Zoe, sports a strange name (for a fellow, at least) that proves a good indication of things to come. Played as a pudgy and none too glamorous performer by actor Jonathan Sollis (above), he's a stand-up comic to whom life tosses a metaphorical grenade; how he recovers from the explosion and finds the will to stand up again is the arc of the plot.
Julia Dennis, below). What's this about? How did they meet and fall in love? What drew her to him? Don't bother asking: It's a fait accompli. Maybe it's just because the guy is so f-ing taletned. Look at Billy Joel (among others) and his parade of paramours.
Aidan Quinn, below) who eventually wants him out of the house and on his own again, but to that end, Zoe needs a job. Dad conveniently runs what is referred to as public school in the city, but it seems in such good shape and with such small classes that the filmmaker must be using the term as the Brits use it for their public schools.
Margarita Levieva, below) who comes complete with her own conveniently sad love story. Now, if it sounds as though I am dissing this little movie, I'm not. While it is manufactured and full of too-easy stuff, it's also quite enjoyable to sit through -- thanks to the performances of the entire cast, and to the quick-wittedness of the filmmaker as writer and director.
Cinetic Media, opens this Friday, September 14, in New York City at the Quad Cinema, and perhaps elsewhere, eventually. (If not, it will certainly be available in time on DVD and/or digitally.)