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The Pallbearer (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 3 May 1996 (USA)
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A young man's life is thrown into a loop when he is asked to be a pallbearer for the funeral of a classmate he doesn't remember, and his old high school crush temporarily returns to town.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tom's Mother
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Lauren
Jean De Baer ...
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Aunt Lucille
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Philip DeMarco
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The Job Interviewer
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Jared
Robin Morse ...
Sylvie
Tony Machine ...
The Undertaker
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Storyline

Chaos unfolds as Tom is roped into being a pallbearer (and delivering the eulogy!) by the mother of a recently deceased "friend" from high school that he just can't remember. In the meantime, an unrequited love from high school (NOT the dead guy's girlfriend) reappears in his life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Something magical is about to unfold in the most unexpected place. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

3 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amigo Desconhecido  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Schwimmer was so busy filming the mock that he missed his Friends (1994) co-star Lisa Kudrow's wedding. See more »

Goofs

The legal pad Tom scripts his phone call on is yellow in medium shot and white in the closeup inserts. See more »

Quotes

Brad Schorr: Did you have sex with the dead guy's mother?
Tom: Don't make a big deal out of it!
Brad Schorr: Did you tell Scott?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scream 3 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Only Had a Brain
Written by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg
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User Reviews

 
Often overlooked, but delightful film
23 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Maybe it was the great, eclectic soundtrack with the likes of Django Reinhardt, Herbie Hancock, Perry Como, Curtis Mayfield, Neil Young and Richie Havens, or maybe it was the dark and subtle bits of humor that pleasantly surprised me throughout the movie, but I really enjoyed this one.

We meet Tom, a forlorn twenty-something man-child still living at home and struggling to take control of his life, played by David Schwimmer of "Friends" fame. Tom gets a call from a woman who mistakenly believes he knew her recently deceased son. He goes along with it, presumably to save her the added grief of knowing her son had no close friends. Of course, Tom's accommodating nature backfires and he's asked to give the eulogy for a man he never knew. This sets up a scene with the kind of dark humor seen throughout the movie that audiences are either delighted with or immediately turned off by.

At the funeral, Tom meets Julie, his unrequited high school crush, played with genuine emotion and winsome grace by Gwyneth Paltrow. Thus begins two relationships that play out over the duration of the film --one with Grace, the bereft mother of the friend Tom never had, played by Barbara Hershey, and the other with Julie.

Yes, this movie owes much, in terms of plot and characters, to "The Graduate," with Hershey playing the counterpart to Anne Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson. But it turns out to be much more than just an update of the '60s classic. The audience really gets to know the inner turmoil both Tom and Julie are going through -- Tom, both for the guilt of becoming unwittingly involved with Grace, and for also being involved with Julie at the same time, and Julie, for being torn between striking out on her own to escape her overbearing parents and getting into a deep relationship with Tom.

There are a couple of sideplots going on with Tom's friends -- Michael Rapaport's character getting married to a woman his friends don't like, and Michael Vardan's married character, making a move on Julie, which obviously infuriates Tom. And Carol Kane as Tom's mom, is precious. In one scene, he is livid after she bursts into his room unannounced. After she receives a brief scolding for not knocking, she replies "I only wanted to see if you wanted some ice cream," to which he replies "A little."

Schwimmer nails the role, with his underplayed, tacit sadness about his so-far-failed attempt at making a responsible life for himself. And Paltrow, well, can she ever miss? Whether for the dark humor, spot-on acting, or superb soundtrack, this one is definitely worth a viewing.


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