Rated: R for language, drug use and some sexual content/nudity Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 22, 2014 Released by: Millennium Entertainment
Half-baked comedy/drama from Mad Men series creator Matthew Weiner set in Amish country but filmed in North Carolina has little heart or depth (maybe a couple or two decent one-liners) so it fits right in with a late summer release and is available on-demand.
Are You Here looks at unlikely buddies — small-market weatherman Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson) and environmentally concerned and aloof Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis) going back to Ben's childhood home upon his estranged father's death.
Conventionality already is evident before the culture issues and tension around the estate as personified by Amy Poehler's bitter, brusque sibling. Some may like the pairing of Wilson and Galifianakis which could be considered oddly charismatic as they enjoy hanging out, but they're bonding and character transitions are more pointless than engrossing. Laura Ramsey appears as the younger shoeless widow in a thankless part as Weiner never can maintain a prevailing, relevant mood. And the laughs and situational angst is mediocre at best. Wilson can do this understated charisma in his sleep and it doesn't work to any compelling effect here.
Are You Here has an unceasing last act that proves deeply discouraging as you wouldn't know how deft and creative Weiner can co-ordinate cast and storytelling from this problematic progression of daft vacuity as those having endured it wishing wondering to admit to themselves the titular question.
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