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What a beautiful little film
socrates991 February 2015
I don't recall ever hearing about this movie. Perhaps it was too steeped in 60's attitude for today's audiences. If so that is truly a shame because that probably means today's young people are too far removed from the era to understand it well. In today's world that is a great loss. If we could live as hippies attempted to back then, we'd be far closer to mitigating climate change than we are now and a large part of that lifestyle was the attitude. This movie captures that attitude beautifully.

Laura Ramsey as Angela, the young hippie step-mother, brought back memories for me about women who actually existed in those years, who would float through life elevating everyone around them like some magical earthbound angel. I suppose nowadays she seems implausible. But back then she was very possible and meeting someone like her was unforgettable. Ms Ramsey's depiction captures the type in a way I haven't seen done in a very long time. It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with the woman she represents. In a lot of ways those flower children were more affecting than anyone I've met since.

The idea of the film apparently is to bring some of that ethos into the present. The two main leads, Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, have no problem evoking the era and they do a splendid job. I thought both brought the right mix of humor and pathology to their parts. They seemed to understand what the movie was trying to convey, and they were quite successful for people like me. What's surprising is that younger people apparently don't get it and I don't quite understand why they wouldn't.

Amy Poehler is also in the movie but in an unattractive role. I still appreciated her contribution to the mix in what seemed like a risky departure from her usual performance.

The story revolves around two friends, pretty much drifting through life who end up supporting each other through the trauma of having one's well-off father die. That death spurs them both to grow up a bit though the transition is not easy for them. The movie is set in farm country where Amish live and coincidentally I live in that sort of country myself. It was actually a bit of a treat to see them carry on in such a setting.

I enjoyed the movie very much, understand its point completely and am really bummed to find out that very few others enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone familiar with that era (it's actually set in the present) and not hostile to it. Believe me from my point of view it is far more your loss than mine that this movie wasn't as praised as it should have been.
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Started as one thing, ended as another
Aaron Fund Salem26 August 2014
I found this movie leaving a bad taste in my mouth... It started out as a typical 'Zach stoned out of his mind funny' type of thing, and turned into it trying to teach me something about mental illness, but doing it in the poorest way possible.

Also, just a side note, I think it is the first time I have ever seen Owen Wilson pick up a stoner role. That's just me. I found it weird watching him smoke up on the couch watching cartoons.

It was amusing for the first while, but it ended with a 'what the hell did I just watch' feeling.

They introduced mental illness into the story line, a reason for Zach being nuts, and they solved it basically by getting him to shave his beard off. Now, I understand that that shows a drastic change, but they didn't follow it with anything.. Just watch it, it'll make you mad as well.

Overall, not really worth the two hours unless you have nothing better to watch. Or if you absolutely love Zach (however you spell his last name) or Owen Wilson, and are dedicated to watching everything they put out.
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TV weatherman and friends discover their more authentic selves
maurice yacowar22 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There's no question mark in the title Are You There because the question is the answer. Matthew Weiner's black rom-com is about characters who try to discover their authentic selves. To ask if how you're acting is the real you is to begin to discover who you are.

One striking scene visualizes characters living out of whack. TV weatherman Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson) lies sleeping on a sofa while all around him, at silent comedy speed, his best buddy Ben (Zach Galifianikis) races through a day or two of frenzied time killing. Combining a still and a fast-action within the frame is an emblem of living as a divided being.

Each character has a wide range of potential selves. The apparent ideal is the beautiful free spirit Erin (Naomi Lavette). She was married to the much older man whose funeral calls son Ben and buddy Steve out to Amish country. If Erin seems the stereotypical hippy she's a winning, warm embodiment. Though Steve once rails at her -- not entirely inaccurately -- for being a wispy tumbleweed, she brings Ben and Steve the stability they both need — in the conventional hippy free love kind of way. Her range is Mother Earth and Tumbling Tumbleweed.

Steve opens the film with an empty protestation of contentment. "Honest, every morning I wake up happy." This turns out to be a set speech he delivers to his every pickup, explaining why he enjoys being single…yet he always senses he might be missing something. By leaving that last door ajar he wins them all — and even gets the girls to pick up the tab when his plastic always fails. He is so locked in that routine he uses it on a call-girl, not the expected recourse of a swaggering local TV star.

The most dramatic discovery is Ben's. The family's black sheep doofus, he's a bipolar nut bar who indulges his every flush of impulsive egotism, however destructive. He ends up a sensible businessman with the integrity to fulfil his promise of giving Steve the huge farm he inherited and the courage to start a new, simple life, perhaps with the single mother Allie (Jenna Fisher) in his complex. Now his complex is a residence, something he can live in. The film closes on him musing on the connection between the Amish farmer with his one-horse wagon, and the plastic red horse Allie's little son is riding. The animal and the plastic here bespeak a simple genuine pleasure.

In minor key rediscoveries, Ben's sister Terri (Amy Poehler) mellows from litigious shrike, taking her sterility frustrations out on others, to a respectful sister, easing Ben back into the family. They tear down the past to build a more useful future. Sexy news anchor Victoria (Alana De La Garza) converts to off-camera wife and fidelity. Steve anoints his better qualified assistant Delia (Lauren Lapkus) as his TV successor. Although she's a meteorologist she still needs a boob job to get on camera. TV requires fakery. There's a telling moment when they slog through a remote hurricane story. Ben lolls in his chair, while Delia curls up asleep under the counter.

For all Steve's initial swagger he's clearly not at ease with himself. Erin diagnosis his veil of charm intended to prevent any real relationship. The old Steve plays cavalier at his job, arriving at the last minute, usually high. When to win Erin he goes straight, he abandons the fakery in his performance. Instead of losing his on-camera effectiveness he discovers he has an off-camera self. That works even better on-air and, more importantly, it sends him back to Erin and the farm. Reunited with Erin the ex-weatherman knows better than to come in out of the rain.

If the script went further perhaps the starstruck meteorologist Delia will some day see past her new boobs and look for her more authentic self. Self-discovery is a process, one misstep after another.

But that would be another movie. This one is quite rich and enjoyable enough. In fact, it doesn't deserve the reviewers' tepid reception. I think had it not been written and directed by the Mad Men whiz Matthew Weiner, it would have been more warmly embraced. Because it's so different, our expectations are disappointed and we conclude he went wrong. On the contrary, to his credit he slipped into a modern setting and a predominantly comic genre, and conceived a fine oddball cast of characters and some very funny lines and scenes. In its thematic concern with apparently gifted and successful people feeling hollow, craving more authenticity in themselves and in their lives, this film is clearly of a piece with his Mad Men. Weiner didn't sell out. He moved on. For more see
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Not your everyday comedy.
asher-luberto28 September 2014
Are you here, is a comedy/drama about the coming of age of Zach's character. This movie is directed by Mathew Weiner(Mad Men, Sopranos), so its not your everyday laugh out loud comedy. He does a wonderful job of showing the everchanging maturity of Zach's character. This is a movie centered around drama and family. Owen Wilson delivers a few laughs, but its not the usual Owen Wilson humor. This movie is rich and fun if your going in expecting less comedy and more drama.

In conclusion, if your looking for your typical late night comedy, then this is not what your looking for. But if your looking for A touching drama that delivers a few laughs, then this is a movie well worth your time.
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profound, but bizarrely cast
ian-dodkins8 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If this had an unknown cast and a different director this would have been an award winning film about the difficulty of finding meaning in our lives.

It starts a little slowly with the main character (weather man) who is a womaniser and seems to be happy, and who also helps his bipolar friend who is struggling to find meaning in his life. However, ultimately find that it is the weather reporter who is searching for meaning in his life - and he finally breaks down when his bipolar friend begins to develop a life on his own.

The film contains quite profound comments (subtle inferences) on what it is to be crazy (and if belief in God is crazy); how relationships can be sexual and caring, but without being about becoming a couple; vegetarianism; living within the modern world or finding meaning in returning to a simpler way of life.

So - the film sounds arty and profound. Except it isn't produced in that way. It is directed like a Hollywood movie, indeed a Hollywood comedy. This mismatch between the complexity of some scenes and some of the plot, and the characters/actors and filming style are probably what disappointed many viewers. Personally, I loved it and put it in the same league as 'the way way back' but a bit more bizarre.

In summary - a great script and good film, with odd casting and presented as a comedy, which it isn't. Will be disappointing if you want something pure Hollywood, but will be engaging if you like sentimental and deep films that make you think, but are not pretentious (indeed - I wonder if it was done purposely like this in an effort to take out all the pretentiousness and make it seem like a light film).
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Not that funny! 3/10
leonblackwood28 February 2015
Review: This is another one of those movies which I thought was going to be quite amusing but it ended up being a total disappointment. Wilson plays a womanising bachelor who hasn't got a penny to his name, even though he works as a weatherman on local TV, and Galifianakis plays his disturbed best friend who has to go home to his dads funeral. Wilson decides to go with his best friend to the funeral and when the will gets read out, Galifianakis finds out that he has inherited most of his dads wealth, which amounts to millions, so his sister, played by Poehler, decides to fight him for the money because she thinks that he hasn't got the mental capability to handle the everything. On top of that, there dads ex-wife, whose a attractive young woman, is still living in the house but she isn't fighting for any of the money. Anyway, the storyline was pretty twisted and the individual characters had there own personal issues to deal with. I personally didn't find it that funny and the characters lacked chemistry because they all come from completely different world's and they just didn't seem to connect. The storyline seemed like a right mess because the director tried to cram in to much elements at once so it didn't seem to flow properly. On the plus side, Galifianakis has some funny moments but thats about it. Disappointing!

Round-Up: With movies in this genre dominating the box office at the moment, I'm surprised that I didn't hear about this film before it got released on DVD, especially with big names like Wilson, Galifianakis and Poehler in it. To be honest, it's not there best material, but it was made by the director of the Sopranos and Mad Men so I was expecting much better. It also seemed like the director didn't have anywhere to go halfway through the film so he introduces the love element which also turns out to be a right mess. All of the big names in the movie seem to be in weird positions in there careers at the moment and they only really work well in cameo roles so it was a gamble to put them in leading roles, which didn't really pay off.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their comedies about a disturbed man who inherits loads of money from his dead father and with the help of his best friend, they battle against his sister to keep the fortune. 3/10
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There are funny parts in this but it is a little depressing. Galifianakis is a perfect choice for this role.
Tony Heck28 September 2014
"I'm talking about fundamental changes to society. I'm not hungry, I have a mission statement to write." Steve (Wilson) and Ben (Galifianakis) have been best friends since they were kids. Ben is his own person and has a hard time fitting into the world. Steve is a weather man who spends his time drinking and getting high. When Ben's father dies the two head back to their hometown for the funeral and when the will is read the bulk of the estate goes to Ben. His sister isn't happy about it but Steve sees a reward coming. Going in to this I was expecting a comedy. The preview makes it seem that way but even if you haven't seen the preview the cast would suggest it. I did like this movie and I think it's worth watching but this is not a typical comedy. There are some funny parts in this but for the most part it is a little depressing. Galifianakis is a perfect choice for this and the role really fits him. On the other hand Owen Wilson plays the same guy he usually does and that kind of detracts from the movie a little. This is a movie I would say is worth seeing though but do not expect a full on comedy. Overall, a movie that is good and worth seeing but not really all that funny. I give it a B.
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Nope. This is, most definitely, not here.
shawneofthedead11 September 2014
On paper, Are You Here is incredibly promising. Written and directed by Matthew Weiner, who created one of the most scintillating television series in recent memory in Mad Men, it stars top-notch comedians Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler - and yes, even Owen Wilson can be brilliant on occasion - and appears to require them to dig a little deeper in dramatic and emotional terms. So far, so excellent, right? The actual film, however, is a confounding mess: the characters are painfully inconsistent, their relationships annoying rather than engaging, and it's pretty much impossible to tell what the point of the entire film is.

We open on the dysfunctional relationship between Steve Dallas (Wilson) and Ben Baker (Galifianakis). Steve is a telegenic but shallow TV weatherman, who leers after but refuses to commit to or care about the women he beds. He seems only to have a soft spot in his coal-black heart for his loopy, manic-depressive childhood friend Ben. When Ben's father passes away, Steve accompanies his buddy to the funeral - an odd affair which re-introduces them to Terri (Poehler), Ben's uptight steamroller of a sister; and Angela (Laura Ramsey), the ethereal, beautiful, young stepmother still living in the family home. After the will is read, Terri vows to regain control of the family store from Ben, and Steve finds himself increasingly distracted from his empty existence by the promise of a deeper, happier life with various members of the Baker family.

The premise of Weiner's film has so much potential: it can explore the debilitating and very real effects of mental illness, and the dark, bitter family ties that bind. Once in a while, Are You Here does crackle slowly to life, often when Terri barges her way into a scene. She's about the only consistent character in the film: pushy, determined and apparently uncaring, yet grappling with her own heartaches (she's trying desperately and failing to have a baby with her husband).

But everything else is an almost remarkable mess. The likes of Steve Dallas - flighty playboys with surprising inner depth who are recalled to their senses by a life-changing event - have existed in many other films, but this incarnation never feels sympathetic. Weiner repeatedly tells us that Steve is charming, without actually showing us any proof in that regard. Instead, the character is whiny and opaque, his spiritual awakening too much confused with his lust for Angela. The same problem applies to Angela. She's resolutely portrayed as a genuinely grieving widow, who really did love Ben's father and was never in it for the money. But, often within the same scene, she transforms uncomfortably into a sexy romantic prospect - and not just for Steve, which is even more perplexing within the context of the entire film.

Even more frustrating is Weiner's troubling treatment of Ben's mental illness. Ben bounces from moment to moment, a ball of manic energy. Terri tries to have her brother declared legally and mentally incompetent to handle their father's estate. It's all bitter, crushing stuff, tied up with an odd perspective on the efficacy of Ben's psych meds. In effect, this is a story worthy of deep, thoughtful exploration - how much of Ben's personality can be attributed to his illness? - but is instead played for cheap laughs, not that there are many to be had.

The cast works hard, but can't quite power through the loopholes and problems in the script. This should be an opportunity for Wilson and Galifianakis to play their stock characters with a darker, smarter twist, but the duo wind up trapped in roles that barely make any sense. Since it's never clear just what role Angela plays within the film (reminder of the past? angel of change and love?), Ramsey is stuck in the same boat. Poehler is the only member of the cast who gets to do something a little different, playing a tough-as-nails character miles away from her sunshine-bright persona on Parks And Recreation. Even so, she disappears from the proceedings for such long stretches that it's sometimes hard to remember she's in the film at all.

Oddly enough, Are You Here might have worked far better as a television series. The ideas, characters and plot twists Weiner cooks up are so complicated and contradictory that they might very well fare better if explored at length and over time. Packed into a running time of just under two hours, the narrative feels rushed and ridiculous, its dramatic potential disintegrating as the film storms along in its strange, determined fashion. In the end, Are You Here is neither funny nor insightful, instead squandering the efforts of its cast, writer and audience to engage with this story and these characters.
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Are You Here suffers from a lack of identity
estebangonzalez109 October 2014
"That's the thing about friendship - it's a lot rarer than love; there's nothing in it for anybody."

I feel sorry for the Matthew Weiner fans out there who are approaching his first feature film basically for their love of Mad Men because there isn't anything here for anybody. The creator of the successful HBO series seems lost in his intentions with this film. The trailers are selling this film as a comedy and we'd expect that considering the fact it stars Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler, all extremely hilarious comedic actors. But despite the fact that the first fifteen or so minutes begin as your average comedy, it ends up taking a rather unconventional and bizarre path. It would be much more appropriate to classify this film as a drama which tries to study the effects of mental illness, although it fails to do so. There are few films who have been able to pull it off (the most recent that comes to mind is David O. Russell's Silver Lining Playbook) because it is such a sensitive and reserved area. This film never really decides what it wants to be and the story takes unexpected directions (and I say this in a negative way). Nothing really makes sense and the characters never feel authentic; some of the decisions they make are confounding and disturbing. The decisions they make don't make sense at all, but the story goes on as if everything is perfectly normal and expects us to believe it. The biggest problem with Are You Here is that it lacks identity, it doesn't know what direction to take after establishing the characters and the premise. The tone of this film is so strange that it will engage very few audiences and I'm not one of them. This is neither a bromance nor a romantic comedy nor a serious attempt at examining mental illness, although at times the film seems to try to be all these things. It adds up to nothing. The greatest thing about Are You Here ended up being Galifianakis' shaved beard.

There was a time in the past when only seeing Owen Wilson on screen would tear me up no matter what, but his recent films haven't resonated with me so well and I haven't found him as funny as I once did. I am sure he will bounce back soon, but for now I really don't have high expectations for his films. Galifianakis has been either hit or miss with me and he seems to play a similar character in most of his films. I'm not a huge fan of Amy Poehler unless she is working alongside Tina Fey. She is funny, but in a more serious role she feels completely miscast. Laura Ramsey was beautiful, but her hippie character had no personality and was perhaps the weakest character in the film whose motivations are never understood. As much as I admire these actors, I really can't think of one performance in this film that actually worked. There is no memorable comedic moment and there isn't anything worth examining about mental illness here either. If the film was trying to be a dramedy it failed completely because it never managed to do either. If you don't believe me go and see it for yourself, but at least I tried to warn you!
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entertaining and yes, it is a comedy
quitwhileyouareahead5 November 2014
After being disappointed recently by the big budget "Sex Tape" and "Neighbors" I was delighted to watch this little gem. I am not a big fan of Zach G. but found him enjoyable along with the rest of the cast. This is not a movie to over think as many critics have done. While none of the stars stretched themselves from their familiar former roles they seemed very comfortable and believable as family and friends dealing with a difficult time. Just because it doesn't have a lot of LOL moments and has some conflict, doesn't mean it is not a comedy. I smiled throughout it and felt good at the end which is what a comedy should accomplish.
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Not funny. Couldn't finish it
helpme-488-30563126 August 2014
OK with the two leads... you'd expect it to be silly and funny. With some quirky moments.

Instead... it was just silly. Not funny. Not clever. Not Quirky. Failed to create any desire in the viewer to care what happened to the two lead men who seemed bored and well aware they were participating in a cinematic piece of trash with the characters created just for the male leads to pull out their well worn one theme characters. Problem is... the script and the whole concept was simply not funny. Not dramatic. This was a film that simply ticked no boxes.

Sound design was always non existent except when it was clichéd.

Saved from a 1 by a beautiful performance from Laura Ramsey who got no top billing for some reason?

Even with her performance?

Total rubbish. Oh I like a c grade comedy as much as the next teenage boy but this was total pap.
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Beautifully shot, great acting, funny but lost in translation...
samdaleimagery11 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I think what the disappointment this film has been receiving from the vast majority of it's audience stems from expectation. I like most people was expecting a simple light hearted comedy that would provide a few cheap laughs about weed and farts, however this film took a different course from the classic stoner film and attempted to comment on society.

By 'attempted' I feel the ideology of the film wasn't clear, it kept jumping around, almost trying to tackle too many issues. This doesn't mean the film didn't have profound moments, it did, but they were damaged by the confused nature of their origin within the story - for instance there was a moment in the film where an Amish man tells Amy Poehler's character that she can't have babies because she doesn't believe in God, this is just one of a few confusing parts of the film.

The casting was a bit odd for the film, although I thought the acting was brilliant I think the audiences that would tend to watch a Zach Galifianakis or Owen Wilson film would get bored with this rather slow paced, almost preachy not amazingly funny comedy.

One of the biggest positives of the film was the way it was shot, this was a pleasant surprise with lighting on some of the wides that looked like a Gregory Crewdson photograph.

Overall I think this was a nice little film, overlooked by it's target audience and reaching an audience that won't have the patience to appreciate it's story even if it is a little wobbly in places - definitely worth a watch if you ever get the time.
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What a Vile Woman
creepybby27 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
My biggest problem with this movie was Laura Ramsey's character and performance. I thought her acting was a little weak and she came off as cold and condescending most of the time. She really rubbed me the wrong way.

OK, so, a young, attractive woman marries a 72 year old rich man, then after 5 years of marriage, when her husband dies, she is left nothing. Confronted with having to work for a living, the woman decides to have sex with both the husband's Son and the Son's best friend rather than move on and use her college degree. She eventually begins a relationship with one of them in order to financially secure her future and somehow, everyone is OK with it in the end.

I saw this movie as Ramsey's Character being a manipulative devil of a woman. It's not really a comedy at all. She didn't seem to grieve at all for her husband, who also just happened to be a multi millionaire, when he died. In the end, after everything, she gets a free pass and keeps the farm by seducing Wilson's Character. Wow. I find that to be a little too tragic for a comedy. It's sad and emotionally draining to see her mentally and sexually manipulate every man in the film.
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surprisingly unfunny
SnoopyStyle29 December 2014
Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson) is a local TV weather reporter. He smokes weed with his slacker friend Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis) who lives in a rundown trailer and has a philosophy of balance with nature. Ben's dad dies and Steve drives him home. Terri Coulter (Amy Poehler) is Ben's bossy sister. Angela (Laura Ramsey) is their hippie stepmother. Terri is given $350k and the rest of the property totaling some $2.5 million to Ben. It puts Ben into a tailspin until he comes up with an idea. Then Terri challenges the Will.

The material keeps trying and certainly Zach gives it his all. This is simply not funny. Writer/director Matthew Weiner is famous for some terrific TV work. Most of this falls flat. It's hard to put a finger on a single cause of this. The jokes are not sharp enough. The directions aren't there. There is something off about the chemistry between Owen, Zach and Angela. Owen is playing a ladies man but the movie starts with him being a horrible date. These weed smoking characters are not nearly funny enough. The four main characters just make me scratch my head. Amy Poehler is almost funny a couple of time. Laura Ramsey struggles to stay in the picture with her costars. Owen has a great moment about his friendship and then the movie turns it on his head. Just when this movie seems to climb out of a hole, it digs an even deeper one. With the talents in the picture, this should be so much funnier.
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It is a hidden gem of a film
wmartjg1 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film had me glued to the screen. Owen did a great job here. His role was spot on his usual charming and witty character. Zack was his typical bipolar super interesting and intelligent self. The story had a lot of great points. It spoke to me in many ways about mental illness and friendships. Owen and Zack play best friends that feed off each other's negative choices and are each others crutches. The step mom was a 60's inspiration hippie type. Ben's sister was played well by an actress who usually plays a comedy role. But her face does look creased and stressed and fits the uptight Role wonderfully. Of course the two women clash. The director shows the contrast of city and wandering tumbleweed hippie very well. I do see how the story could confuse some. But life isn't a Hollywood film and they are trying to convey this in the story. Life isn't black and white, good nor bad. We just are here. The voices start to show us Ben really is crazy and he starts to see this too and decides to take his meds. He loses his insanity but also loses his creativity and slips into a normal life. But at the end sees this. It does leave me thinking if he will return to the farm and start the hippie commune...
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How can this movie be rated a 5 stars?
Lia Tonicher9 August 2016
This movie is so makes us think about the meaning of life. Owen Wilson is phenomenal. He makes me think a bit about Woody Allen. But Wilson is a bit like him, anyway. He deambulates about himself, his friend and around life, brilliantly. There are, indeed, some reminiscences of Woddy Allen's more introspective work, where he explored complicated people, relationships and inner psychology, spiced with sarcastic comedy. It's not a comedy neither is a drama. I'd call it, a realistic comedy, because our lives are totally like this. From an exterior or disconnected point of view, they are hilarious. But this movie is more accessible and contemporary. Not presumptuous. Just simple.
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Waste of time
shas3322 October 2014
I don't really know why they chose Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler to act in this movie. They have three great entertainers known for their comedy and this movie did not strike me in any kind of comedic way. I absolutely love all three of them, and even I felt like I just wasted 2 hours of my life after watching this.

To me the story line wasn't very appealing. It just seemed very dull, the roles didn't fit the actors, there was hardly any comedy, it was more serious than I had thought a movie could be with actors like this in it, and yet I just kept watching it, in hopes that something funny would happen, or somehow it would be worth it to see to the end.

I was highly disappointed.
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Harriet Deltubbo19 August 2014
It's an amazing work and everything I had hoped for. Two childhood best friends embark on a road trip back to their hometown after one of them learns he has inherited a large sum of money from his recently deceased estranged father. This film was nearly perfect, but sadly still not made for everyone. It's an important film, as well as very entertaining. It is very light-hearted and it isn't complex at all as all the characters struggle against a system that has perpetuated many falsehoods. My only problem with the film was the supporting cast, but it's still okay. The plot is not as well thought out as the original, but it still does the cast well.
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Recommended for a personal reason
agentbinky-74-8911443 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this movie because it was recommended to me, with the statement that I would probably "identify with a character played by Zach Galifianakis." In the film, Zach plays a man who suffers from bipolar disorder with schizoid tendencies, coming to grips with his illness and trying to re-integrate himself into society. I think the moment that hit me the hardest was when Zach was prescribed mood stabilizer medication for the first time and it really hit him that, man, I'm going to be on this stuff for the rest of my life. I could totally relate to the crushing feeling that gives a person.

So anyway, Zach plays the aforementioned bipolar and Owen Wilson stars as his best friend, a weatherman for the local news. They are both heavy pot smokers and the movie features loving scenes of them hanging out and smoking it together. Anyway, Zach feels disconnected from society and Owen is struggling with his own problems relating to women and settling down into a committed relationship, not to mention having a hard time keeping a handle on his money. They're both flunky losers, basically.

Suddenly Zach breaks the news that his Dad has died, and he and Owen attend the funeral and the reading of the will, whereupon Zach is bequeathed a lot of money, a country store, and 100 acres of farmland by his old man. His sister (played by Amy Poehler) is outraged at this, considering him incompetent, and desperately wanting to take control of the property and manage it as she sees best. So, she tries to declare him unfit in court, which goes awry, and Zach takes control of the properties. He promptly goes haywire and tries to create an "Omega Society" to teach people to "live in harmony with the land" and "get rid of all the bull#@^!." All this is cut short, however, when he attacks a man in a bar, imagining him to lob harsh insults in his direction about his competence.

In the mean-time, Owen is starting to develop a thing for Zach's dad's widow, a young girl he obviously married for her sexual characteristics, and who spares no insult directed toward Owen for his drunken, pot-smoking lifestyle. At one point Owen offers to "get her on the next flight," and waves a bong at her, to which she responds "No thanks, I try to avoid things that keep me from feeling." Ba-zing! They continue to hit it off however, and there's a lot of sexual tension in the air.

However, Zach gets really upset one night and bemoans his very existence, and his dad's widow feels a connection with him and they sleep together. This does wonders for Zach and starts getting him thinking about how he needs to "get his #%@% together," so he shaves his beard (the first time I've seen Zach without one), regularly takes his medication, and bequeaths the country store to his sister for her to do with as she sees fit. She promptly turns it into a SuperStore called "Amish Farms." Zach bequeaths the farmland to Owen, who quickly finds out about Zach and the widow sleeping together, and threatens to kick them off the land. But, things are soon resolved in a heartwarming conclusion.

Overall the movie is very uneven and hit-or-miss, with a lack of focus or narrative drive, as it kind of meanders from plot point to plot point. In addition, the emphasis on mental illness lacks a lot of the direct "oomph" of something like say, Silver Linings Playbook, perhaps because it deals less genuinely with the subject. However, because of my empathy with Zach's character, I overall enjoyed the film, and must give it three out of five stars.
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Yet another busted flush...
OzoFriendly5 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying that had the film ended with Steve's final reunion with Ben, I would probably have bumped my rating to a 7, feeling it might even have deserved an 8.

Sadly, it seems as though the writers were forced to obviate pretty much all the clever characterisation of the first 100 minutes by contriving an ending that might keep the gum-chewing knuckle-draggers happy as they left the cinema chuckling over the treatment of trees and chickens.

And just in case you were at all uncomfortable with the serious undertones on which these moments were predicated, here's some cheap 'comedy' music to accompany the 'funny' bits.

On a positive note, I found the writing - where it seemed true to the spirit of the story - to be intelligent, witty and occasionally very moving.

Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler were both excellent, Laura Ramsay was angelic, and while Owen Wilson was inanely typecast as Steve Dallas, he had the odd moment of depth, too.

In the end though, I suspect "Are You Here?" was first written for a smart audience but ultimately needed to sell to a dumb one, then failed to entirely satisfy either.
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Family nor friendship, only wealth talks!
Reno Rangan24 January 2018
It was something different, if you are fed up with the same old, the same old storylines keep repeating in all the Hollywood films. That made me keep watching it. Never was boring, but definitely should have been better in the overall story section. Because it looks more a cinematic than the real. Especially Owen Wilson character. Only fools let him near them as whatever happened in the film. But that's quite perfected since Zach's role was close to one.

This is about two friends, one works in a new channel and the other one a hippie. When one of their rich father dies, they return to the hometown, that's going to change their fortune forever. But within siblings, a conflict arises and in the following events told how everything unfolds. I liked the cast. It was a wonderful combination. It was a comedy, though not a hard hitting one, neither a message film. Just a timepass film. For once watching, it is not a bad at all.

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Operation Crayfish rescue
Michael Ledo19 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson) is a shallow weather man for an Annapolis, Md. station. He is the best friend of Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis) a scruffy bipolar paranoid pot smoker, i.e. Zach Galifianakis type cast. He is also a "yellow belt" and is writing a book in a spiral notebook. When Ben's father passes away, Steve returns with him to Lancaster, Pa. where we meet Ben's unlikeable sister Terri (Amy Poehler), and his young "back to nature" step-mom Angela (Laura Ramsey).

The story goes off in different directions. There is a sibling estate fight. We have shallow Steve falling for the step-mom who sees through him. Then there is Ben's mental health and desire to create a utopian society starting with his farm.

The film had some good scenes as one might expect in a Zach Galifianakis film. Owen Wilson, or at least his character put a dampener on the whole film whose theme was...friendship? The ending really didn't tie things together and Steve was such a plastic character, you never wish for any success for him.

Okay as a Red Box rental- Magnolia film substitute.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. Nudity (Melanie Ratcliff, Alana De La Garza-TV actress, Laura Ramsey-brief nudity)
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Conservative Message for Alert Viewers
dansview3 December 2017
I wanted to hate this so much. I'm so sick of Godless Hollywood types telling stories about the meaninglessness of life. But then I remembered a few things. First, of course movies are going to reflect the real life values, experience, and conflicts of the people who make them, and they are a certain type. Second, I have to judge a film based on what it is, not on whether I personally like the message or the ethos.

Having said all that, here it is: Yes the makers tried to throw in a lot of different philosophical elements, to the point where you weren't sure what the message was. But perhaps that actually is part of the message. Life is messy and complicated. Many of us have toyed with both Liberal and Conservative approaches to life.

Anyways, there were a number of good, memorable elements. All three free spirits accuse each other of shallowness and immaturity at some point and grow into better souls. In the early parts, you may get the impression that the film is glorifying hedonism, and amorality. But it isn't. It's doing just the opposite. In that sense, it is actually close to being a conservative movie.

The most poignant moment is when one former hippie cleans up, moves into a condo, and realizes that this is all there is. We may do small things to help the world, but for the most part life is a routine, and that is o.k. It's immature to crave some exalted mission all the time and swear allegiance to it, while shirking responsibility.

An even greater conservative scene is when our hippie imagines a bar patron telling him what a worthless dreamer and charlatan he actually is.

There's a sort of "flower child" character here who helps men reach their potential. But instead of trying to make them better hippies, she tries to make them better, more enlightened and responsible men. That's a nice twist.

There is an unspoken, yet underlying current that suggests that the Amish people of the surrounding area live a more authentically pure lifestyle, because they make things from scratch and have few wants or needs. It makes sense that free spirits might admire the Amish, because they usually crave a less materialistic, naturalistic, nature-based life. Meanwhile we see an Amish boy visiting a Psychiatrist. Perhaps to suggest that we all have problems.

The cinematography is terrific. There are beautiful green spaces and some nude work. For the most part there is not much actual sex or even a lot of profanity.

Sure the Zach G. actor guy has done variations of this role before. But this one was his best. Because you really felt his pain. It wasn't meant to be humorous. Wilson played his usual self, but once again did it beautifully. The woman who played the free spirit did so with just the right amount of emotion and detachment.

What a sad shame that so many people spend a lifetime being immature, only to wake up middle aged with nothing to show for it. Better late than never. I think that was the ultimate message.
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An irritating bore
Gordon-118 October 2014
This film tells the story of a man with mental illness, who inherits a huge fortune after the death of his father.

"Are You Here" has promise to be a touching film, with estranged family relationships. However, it turns out to be an irritating bore. Zach's character is mentally unstable, and had achieved little in his life. His character does not evoke sympathy or resonance with me, even though he tries hard to get his act together. The complicated family relationships could have been touching, but it lacks the intensity and depth. The only character I like is the young step mother, she seems to be the only sane person in the story.

The problem with this film is that it is not engaging enough to be a drama, and not funny enough to be a comedy.
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lilmisspinkpanther28 October 2014
I rented this movie from RB. With a cast like that, they should label the movie as 'not a comedy'. I probably honestly only made it half way through before I stopped watching, which is unusual for me. What's sad is, with those actors, they could have made a great flick.. I was really hoping for more. I do not understand why actors choose roles in films that do not fit their skills. All 3 of the main characters are comedians. I wanted to laugh, and instead I ended up in an irritated mood. Oh well, Live and learn. Zach is one of my favorite comedians and I hope in the future he doesn't choose every role that comes along. He's much better than that, as well as the others.
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