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|Index||29 reviews in total|
I channel surfed past this many times, mainly because the synopsis sounded so cheesy, so "Love American Style". However, it turned out to be quite good, very well done. The two stand-out features are the dialog and acting. Great cast. The premise is actually well executed and there aren't too many weak moments. I guess what I was most amazed by was how often you thought the wheels are going to come off the cart, and instead, the cart just banks the turns, so to speak, and the movie keeps flying. There are some nice little sub-plots, particularly the relationship that develops between the character played by former Conan sidekick Andy Richter. Also, want to mention that the music accompanying it was good.
I rented this movie without having heard (or read) anything about it. What a shame! This movie is intelligent, witty, hilarious, fast-paced, and realistically ridiculous. The characters manage to get developed without relying too heavily on clichéd, tired stereotypes. It was refreshing to watch. I couldn't help thinking that marketing would have helped lob this not-so-mainstream movie into the starved-for-intelligent-comedy mainstream. The quality of the dialogue and the ease with which the actors execute a huge range of awkwardness, heartbreak and comedy is so rare these days--I felt that the actors must have really enjoyed participating in something this rich. How is it that National Treasure was number one at the box office for three weeks in a row--it is so weak in too many ways to mention. I guess I'm just happy that movies like "Seeing.." are still being made somewhere out there.
Sophisticated sex comedies are always difficult to pull off. Look at
the films of Blake Edwards, who is arguably the master of the genre,
and you will find just as many misses as hits. For, if a film of this
nature ever fails to work, it can never fall back on the tried and true
toilet humor of a teen sex comedy [i.e. "American Pie"], or warm the
audience with the sentimentality of a romantic comedy [i.e. Julia
Roberts' entire career]. It can only maintain a push to the end, and
hope that the audience can appreciate the almost required irony of it's
Written by husband/wife team Wally Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes, "Seeing Other People" opens with engaged couple Ed & Alice [Jay Mohr & Julianne Nicholson] only seconds away from rear-ending the car in front of them. As the frame freezes, we unexpectedly hear the thoughts and fears of both characters. From here on out, we welcome that the story about to unfold will enjoy a point of view from both sexes.
Two months shy of their vows, Ed & Alice already look and act like an old married couple. In an early bathroom scene, their actions alone show us just how comfortable they are with each other and how long they have been together. So when the line to propel the plot forward is uttered - expectedly from the least likely of the two - it is as if the very relationship itself is calling for a change, even if it means it's own destruction.
Once all the ground rules are set [Ed can not sleep with her mother or, for that matter, Salma Hayek], the two head off in their separate directions in the hope of finding some meaningless sex to strengthen their relationship. At first, everything seems to go as planned as their daily trysts only help to fire up the passion between them. But predictably, as the deeper emotions of regret and jealousy begin to emerge, they soon find themselves growing apart and on the verge of breaking up. All of these actions leading to a resolution you may or may not like - depending on your own degree of cynicism.
For a comedy like this, you need a solid cast with supporting characters just as strong as the leads. And director Wolodarsky does not disappoint. Here he has cast two of my favorite actresses as sisters - Julianne Nicholson & Lauren Graham - and allows them to play to their strengths. For Nicholson, who has always reminded me of a young Shirley MacLaine, she brings an air of naivete and vulnerability to Alice even when her actions seems less than so. And as for Graham, an actress who has proven she could outperform an entire Howard Hawks ensemble, she steals every scene she is in with an edgy "no BS" persona.
As for the guys, Jay Mohr is serviceable here as is Josh Charles. "Malcolm in the Middle"'s Byron Cranston has to be applauded for taking on a British accent and letting it all hang out. But the real treat here is Andy Richter and his sub-plot involving single mother, Helen Slater. While his scenes almost seem to belong in another movie, they are by far the funniest and his dead panned delivery steals the show.
For an independent production, "Seeing Other People" has a more personal and introspective feeling - something that would be noticeable absent from a big Hollywood film of this kind. Not to mention that this film also has some genuinely funny moments - unlike, say, most Hollywood comedies in general.
Rating [on a 5 star system] : 3 1/2 stars
Intense, funny, witty, and more than anything, social comedy on the
ways of adult dating and it's results-be it good or bad. Mohr and
Nicholson are engaged couple two months away from a wedding date, when
a bizarre event at their engagement party forces Nicholson to re-think
the relationship and start to date other people so she won't feel so
pristine when it comes to sexual experience. This leads to a disaster
of events following Mohr, Nicholson, and their cohorts. Very
intelligent and needed in this time of clumsy, condescending comedy,
while containing your usual variety of comedic, sexual, and frustrated
characters(especially Charles as a sexually frustrated sex fiend...very
annoying) who even they seem to get the right feel to this heart felt
The film goes the way films should go these days, showing that guys are sensitive at heart and have morals. Most of the male characters are the moralistic, straight forward eyes, while the woman are the fresh faced street prowlers who will stop at nothing to get pleasure. Guys will be appreciative of the message made for guys with self respect, however it is easy to assume that most males who DO see this film will use it's message of male sensitivity cover up any flaw or trait that a female might find offending. Still, the writing formula uses this as a tool to pave the way for it's male leads, particularly those of Mohr, Richter, and finding the director in a cameo as a sales man!
The females are by far the most promiscuous as they speak of nothing but pleasure and what it would be like to... with someone else. They have amicable traits though, even though they are covered by the image of sex driven kittens. Very funny stuff.
On another level, the film follows some of it's ensemble into different relationship work. Richter meets up with a stressed divorcée(a VERY remarkable and noteworthy performance by the always reliable Helen Slater) named Penelope who is divorced with a son who hates her for splitting with his father. As the two go deeper into a relationship, human interest is revealed and both the comedy and tragedy of divorce and starting anew are studied.
By the end of the film, Mohr and Nicholson have become way to deep over the heads to see what's coming next, and it is up to what they have learned about each other and themselves to decide what will come next. It becomes appropriate and dramatic at just the right time.
Wallodorski's direction is emulated very well when the characters learn to face each other after all that has happened...with the right ending.
All in all, this film should have been released nationwide, and I should hope that it is up for some Academy Awards...maybe Helen Slater can finally get the recognition she deserves. Anywho, this film is a no hits miss, give it all you got romantic sex farce, displayed very maturely and aesthetically.
This indie film is worth a look because of the enormous talent of its
creators, Wallace Wolodarsky and Marsha Forbes. Mr. Wolodarsky has
directed the young cast, and he is to be praised for this effort.
The premise of the film is a cautionary tale of the danger for wanting something one can't have. Which is the story of Alice and Ed. After living together for a while, Alice suddenly gets restless because she imagines she's lacking experience in the sex area. Alice and Ed's relationship, while not an example of ideal happiness, is a comfortable way to share their lives with one another. That is, until the moment Alice and Claire, her sister, happened to bump into a sexual encounter by another couple that has no clue of being observed.
This incident makes Alice reevaluate her own sexual life with Ed; she finds it lacks substance. When she proposes 'seeing other people', Ed is shocked, to put it mildly, but not wanting to contradict Alice, he decides to go along. What happens next is that both Alice and Ed enter into a world that's been unknown to them. The people they meet, in the end, are not worth the trouble. They sadly realize at the end, they were made for each other.
The film is worth watching in order to see the amazing Julianne Nicholson, who we happen to have liked in another indie film, "Tully". Ms. Nicholson reminds us of a young Shirley McLaine; she projects such a luminous quality about her, that is hard to take one's eyes from her whenever she is in a scene. This young actress proves she is an accomplished performer who gets better with each new appearance. Basically, she carries the movie. Her Alice is a study in contrasts. Alice is a decent woman who thinks she is inadequate in pleasing Ed because of her inexperience.
Jay Mohr, is an excellent match for Ms. Nicholson. Both do wonders together. His Ed is perfectly credible. We have known people like him. Deep down inside, he is a good person, who suddenly gets himself in a situation he didn't call for, yet, he goes along only to discover he is too decent and not cut out for a life of gratuitous sex with the willing women that have no problem with a tumble in the hay, just for fun.
The rest of the cast is wonderful. Lauren Graham does some amazing work as Claire, Alice's yuppie sister. Andy Ritcher is also wonderful as the grounded Carl, the nerdy friend who finally finds out fulfillment when he meets Penelope, a single mother. As Penelope, Helen Slater, makes a felicitous, albeit of a short, appearance in the film.
The director is enormously gifted, who will no doubt go places because he shows he is well suited for the job.
The best romantic comedy I've seen in years. Not the kind of slick over the top Hollywood stuff by Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler and a lot less syrupy than a Hugh Grant epic. Julianne Nicholson and Jay Mohr are perfectly cast and both deliver smoothly professional performances as the engaged couple who decide to spend a little time sowing their sexual oats before marriage. Instead of playing it strictly for laughs the writers and director concocted a nice blend of human feelings and comedic action. Nicholson is just great as the awkward seductress and Mohr does a great job as the man who reluctantly enters into the game but soon finds himself enjoying his flings a little too much. We see just enough of the supporting characters to nicely round out the plot without distracting from the main story. Andy Richter (earnest friend) and Helen Slater (distraught single-mom) are particularly good. There is enough meaning and emotional complexity to make this a lot more than a standard boy-girl farce. Indeed, with just a little better pacing and a tiny bit more cutting this film would be a top ten comedy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
[WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS]
Written by husband and wife Wally Wolodarsky (who also directed) and Maya Forbes, this indie film is one of the better romantic comedies in recent memory.
Jay Mohr takes a break from playing smarmy weasels to be the nice guy faced with the fact his fiancée wants to bed other people and he's allowed to do so, too. Julianne Nicholson, who was so good in "Tully," plays spunky and vulnerable with great gusto. Too bad she doesn't get the recognition she deserves.
Good supporting performances help immensely, too. Lauren Graham, who made last year's "Bad Santa" memorable, plays the jaded, cynical sister to perfection, Bryan Cranston (the dad on TV's "Malcolm in the Middle") gets a few funny, raunchy moments, and Andy Richter plays a genial guy who falls for a single mother - Helen Slater in a credible, albeit familiar, role as a mousy woman.
What surprised me most about "Seeing Other People" was how funny it is. There are some genuine laughs here. Ed's first attempt at meaningless sex gets some great lines, and there's a ménage a trois that elicits one of the most truthful reactions from a man as the male fantasy gets tweaked.
The film's premise isn't unusual, but I liked that it was Alice (Nicholson) who thought of it, much to the chagrin of Ed (Mohr). Given the genre, you know that no matter how good her intentions are, Alice's plan is doomed. We see how the couple works through this strange situation. Initially, Alice and Ed are turned on by the idea, but then the human element sets it.
I appreciated Forbes and Wolodarsky not turning this into a cheap sex romp. Yes, there's sex and nudity, but there also are real emotions at work here. The "other people" Alice and Ed befriend don't want to be the objects of casual sex; they have feelings, too. In one case, too many feelings.
Granted, some scenes run one joke too many, the Richter-Slater subplot isn't necessary and Alice does something truly uncharacteristic. But that's forgivable because Mohr and Nicholson generate such tremendous intimacy and honesty - check out the scenes where Ed rummages through Alice's underwear drawer or his reaction to her announcement about ending the experiment - that no matter how much we might enjoy their little game, we root for this couple to succeed.
Unfortunately, this film got little, if any, publicity and a limited release. Hollywood studios, whose romantic comedies often veer on the unfunny, turgid and unsurprising, would do well to learn from this intelligent and funny film.
Well, the movie did turn out a lot better than i expected. It's not boring and it's not unoriginal. It's really not a silly romantic comedy. The situations the characters put themselves in are very unusual, of course, we're still talking about a movie, but the main characters are indeed plausible. Donald is, of course, an exaggeration, but he's just a pawn in the movie, a means to prove something. The ending isn't one of those ridiculously happy, always the same, moral containing pieces of crap you can usually see in movies of the genre. I genuinely liked it and i'm hard to please when it comes to this particular genre of movies. It's worth a watch. Besides, it's better directed than other movies, the story line always stands up, the characters themselves stand up. And they do not experience this miraculous change and love is not revealed to them like a holly god given artifact, yada, yada. At the end of it all you actually see yourself going through it all, the movie makes you feel something, you may even learn a thing or two. It's not the usual hope-producing, tissue moistening idiocy. It's a good movie, not a consolation prize for teary women around the world.
"Seeing Other People" is very similar to the British original series
"Coupling" so it's nice to know that American sit com writers can be
guffawingly funny about sex and relationships when freed from the networks.
While it's male/female co-written, by Maya Forbes and director Wallace Wolodarsky, the premise feels like a male fantasy gender-switch of wanting both free love and the laundry done, though both guys and gals do end up getting their comeuppance.
Jay Mohr, as a mensch for a change, and Julianne Nicholson, who was captivating in the drama "Tully," considerably humanize the coincidental goings on through their sincerity.
Lauren Graham and Josh Charles enjoy being deliciously nastier sidekicks than their respective "Gilmore Girls" and "Sports Night" personas. Andy Richter does a surprisingly grown-up turn as the most grounded of the group on the sexual merry-go-round.
It may have been shot on video and blown up to 35 mm as the print was a bit fuzzy. The font on the credits was the largest I've ever seen in a film so I could see that the director and Liz Phair had a cameo, though I think we only saw her legs, and that several sit com directors and producers were thanked. The excellent songs and music were not identified, however.
Ed (Jay Mohr) and Alice (Julianne Nicholson) have been a couple for four years. They love each other and feel comfortable in each other's presence. Alice, a gardener, likes to pick out fragrant new shampoos for the two of them and Jay, a television writer, always chooses postage stamps that he feels Alice will enjoy putting on their letters. They live together and, in fact, are planning a November wedding. All of a sudden, reality hits Alice hard. She tells Ed that, having only slept with three gentlemen in her entire life, she fears that she has missed something along the way. Perhaps, Alice convinces Ed, they should have an open relationship until the actual day of the wedding. She can see other people and so can Ed, with a definite don't-ask-and-don't tell policy between them. Ed is astounded but he reluctantly agrees. Soon after, Alice hooks up with a fellow landscaper named Donald while Ed makes a play for a starlet he meets on the set. But, is this really the way two people in love should behave? Although the stars of this film are charming and attractive, the story is truly, well, unlikeable. Yes, every committed couple contemplates infidelity, at some point, probably, but most folks realize that the damage and heartache it would bring to their own relationship may be too great. This film tries to make a comedy out of this premise, and there are a few laughs to be had, but, ultimately, the sadness of the concept takes over. Yes, the costumes, sets, and production values are nice, making the film look great. But, at its heart, this movie is a cautionary tale for those who have wandering eyes. If you avidly see every romantic drama out there, you could spend some time with this film. Be warned, however, that the comedy elements go south very quickly.
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