People Places Things (2015)

By 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…

Man Up (2015)

There’s a germ of a good idea in Man Up, a disappointing rom-com starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell. It’s the idea of its characters as “emotional jigsaws” – dating in their mid-30s/early-40s while burdened by the baggage of failed relationships. In Man Up’s world, the challenges of dating aren’t so much associated with finding…

Sleeping with Other People (2015)

The nature of romantic comedy has changed in the past 20 years. Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman – these movies provided a fairytale aspect to the idea of romance: Prince Charming, the one person made for you. Nowadays, a hyper-realistic brand of rom-com has sprung up, grounded less in idealised perfect moments and more in…

Results (2015)

Results is a conscious step towards the mainstream for director Andrew Bujalski, who cut his teeth on indie “mumblecore” features like Funny Ha Ha before wowing critics [who are not me] with 2013’s eccentric, experimental Computer Chess. This is decidedly more conventional fare – with recognisable actors (Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan) in a…

Learning to Drive (2014)

Romantic comedies, as a rule, tend to get a bad rap. About half the time it’s deserved, as cliché follows cliché while subpar acting combines with flimsy plot development. (Doesn’t mean I don’t love them.) Learning to Drive, however, strays as far from this stereotype as possible while still falling under the rom-com umbrella. In the…