Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.
Lawrence Wetherhold is miserable and misanthropic: he's a widower, a pompous professor at Carnegie Mellon, an indifferent father to a college student and a high-school senior, and the reluctant brother of a ne'er-do-well who's come to town. A seizure and a fall send Lawrence to the emergency room where the physician, a former student of his, ends up going on a date with him. His daughter, Vanessa, lonely and friendless, who's been bonding with his brother, tries to sabotage dad and the doctor's relationship, but Lawrence is good at that without help. Is there any way these smart people can get a life? Can happiness be pursued beneath layers of irony? Written by
Not for your average movie-goer, this one. Although the situation is teed up nicely for a typical feel-good ensemble gush-fest, it resists that temptation and takes you to a place where the characters are not, although they seem to need it, ready for rehab. It has an easy, rambling style that gradually rather than gratuitously opens their world to us without (for the most part) overly relying on hackneyed situations and gimmicks (although Quaid's insistence on keeping his wifes clothing was not one of them). In fact, the situations portrayed are so dark and lo- keyed that I wondered if this movie could have been made without the ready-made typecast qualities of Quaid, Haden-Church and Parker. ...Gritty Pittsburgh backdrop in a very real academic surrounding adds to the slice-of-life tone.
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