People Places Things (2015)

Jemaine Clement and Regina Hall in People Places Things (2015)

Dave author picBy any ‘objective’ measure, People Places Things has a terrible screenplay. It’s a romantic comedy almost completely bereft of comedy. It centres its entire first act on the challenges of being a single father – with cartoonist/teacher Will (Jemaine Clement) frantically dashing his twin daughters between work and home and school – before jettisoning any serious consideration of parenting shortly thereafter. Will’s girls become perfect angels, a convenient excuse to jump-start a romance with Diane (Regina Hall). Will’s ex, Charlie (Stephanie Allynne), meanwhile complicates romantic matters with the requisite second act conflict.

Yet People Places Things is not a terrible movie thanks to the abundant charms of its cast. Clement, in particular, continues to demonstrate that deadpan delivery plus a Kiwi accent can make even the thinnest jokes funny. And Hall and Allynne occasionally demonstrate a vibrant, feminist assertiveness, even if the film they’re in is only peripherally interested in the reality of their lives.

Basically, this is a feature length version of a hang-out sitcom; step back and think about it a little, and its flaws become incredibly clear, but in the moment , carried along by the easy chemistry of its cast, it’s too enjoyable for those flaws to matter.

3 stars


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