Untogether

Watching this movie came at the perfect time for me. I had just seen the romcom Isn’t it Romantic, which was good, despite using all the usual cliches and tropes. Untogether deals with a handful of couples in their relationships, but not everything is sunshine and roses.

And what I was loving was the sharp dialogue. There’s nothing like listening to a rabbi (Billy Crystal), talk about why George Harrison was his favorite Beatle, only to have a woman (Lola Kirke) say that he ruined three classic Beatles album because of the sitar. It’s lines like that that I loved, and this movie is filled with them. It’s just a shame that it’s such an uneven story that often times doesn’t work.

On the subject of classic rock bands, I once met Bad Company and Free drummer Simon Kirke, and it’s his two daughters that play sisters in this (Jemima Kirke is the other).

Jemima plays Andrea, a writer that had early success with a novel, but did nothing but drugs after that. She’s gotten sober, and starts an affair with Nick (Jamie Dornan of Fifty Shades of Grey). He’s a doctor that, as Gerry Rafferty once sang, should probably “give up the booze and the one night stands.”

He hit it big with a best-selling memoir about a tragic romance. The book was so popular that gorgeous women in restaurants recognize him (and made my wife ask when one fan approached, “This is L.A. Why is everyone talking with British accents?”). Well, one guy’s accent was Australian. It’s character actor Ben Mendelsohn, who I enjoy in everything. It’s great that he took this role, because he’s not the heavy, for once. He plays a rock star in Australia that left that behind to be a painter and to be with Andrea’s sister, Tara (Lola Kirke). She’s a massage therapist who starts going to synagogue after having a socially conscious rabbi come in for a facial.

This is the debut feature from writer/director Emma Forrest, who’s a rather successful writer. She was also briefly married to Mendelsohn. From reading about her online, there are many things in the movie that mirror her own life (and since she once wrote a story about Manic Street Preacher, it made the cute joke she had in the movie about the band even funnier).

The cast is good. Alice Eve shows up as a literary agent, that goes from loving her hunky, hotshot writer, to getting a bit peeved when it starts to look like he might be another James Frey (a reference for those that remember the A Million Little Pieces debacle).

The problem this movie has is that, despite the interesting dialogue, you don’t really care about these characters. None of it really adds up to much. There are also points in the movie that get boring. At one point I looked over, and my wife had fallen asleep on the couch.

It’s also frustrating when you’re watching a bunch of people making decisions that are idiotic to their circumstances.

Maybe it’s because Lola Kirke was in Mistress America, that I had hoped this movie would be as good as that. And with a funny opening scene that has Mendelsohn not enjoying the sex, because of what he sees the cat doing…is great stuff. It’s just a shame that there wasn’t as much humor along those lines.

I laughed when Lola tells a rabbi she wished she would’ve asked her dad more “jewy stuff” when he was still alive.

It’s fun to hear the rabbi mention Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, and his love of “Lost in America” in response.

I thought of Billy Crystal’s movie When Harry Met Sally (the fake orgasm scene), when one character wants to finish an unsuccessful sexcapade. He says something like, “We’ve never had unsuccessful sex before.”

She responds, “Yes, we have.”

Overall, the movie was disappointing. I’m not mad I spent an hour and a half with these characters, and it all makes me excited to see what Emma Forrest is going to do next.

This film is in select theatres, but is also available VOD. It might not be the best movie for this Valentine’s Day evening, but check it out over the weekend. Especially if you need your Billy Crystal fix. I haven’t seen him in a movie in years, and nobody is hosting the Oscars this year, so….

2 stars out of 5.

 

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