Scott Marks 3 p.m., Dec. 18
People Like Us
According to the terms of his estranged father’s will, Chris Pine must deliver $150,000 in a shaving kit to Elizabeth Banks, the 30-year-old sister he didn’t know existed. Initially reluctant to hand over the cash to Dad’s hippie love child, Pine manages to become a major part of his sister’s life without letting the truth slip. For his directorial debut, blockbuster word-slinger Alex Kurtzman’s (Transformers, Cowboys and Aliens) greatest sin is keeping the camera too close. In its earnest pursuit to untangle the web of lies under which the family has been operating, the screenplay (cowritten by Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jody Lambert) seldom crosses over into soap opera territory. For decades, the tagline “Based on Real Events” has been synonymous with “Cable-Ready” — particularly when there’s a hint of incest added to the mix. Not here. The performances — including those by veteran actress Michelle Pfeiffer and newcomer Michael Hall D'Addario as Banks’ rebellious son — are uniformly superb. Those scorched by the “chick flicks” that pass for women’s pictures nowadays (Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston, take note) can finally rejoice: People Like Us is the real deal. With Olivia Wilde and Philip Baker Hall. 2012.
— Scott Marks
- Big Screen Review • June 27, 2012