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After the Credits Volver a "After the Credits "

At the movies with Covo & Ayotte: “People Like Us”

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. | 29 de junio de 2012

Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews at  www.laprensasa.com  whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, the duo weighs in (and even agrees) on “People Like Us.” Check online for their reviews of “Ted.” Next week, check back to read what they have to say about this summer’s highly anticipated blockbuster – the third and final installment of the  “Dark Knight” franchise as well as Stone's latest film “Savages.” Also, stay tuned for Covo’s exclusive interview with Sandra Eschevarria and her experiences on the set of “Savages.”

San Antonio.- Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews at www.laprensasa.com whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, the duo weighs in (and even agrees) on “People Like Us.” Check online for their reviews of “Ted.” Next week, check back to read what they have to say about this summer’s highly anticipated blockbuster – the third and final installment of the  “Dark Knight” franchise as well as Stone's latest film “Savages.” Also, stay tuned for Covo’s exclusive interview with Sandra Eschevarria and her experiences on the set of “Savages.”

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. 
angela.covo@gmail.com and dennisayottejr@gmail.com

THE NEW COVO & AYOTTE GUIDE:

  • INSTANT CLASSIC! FIVE STARS
  • DON'T MISS! FOUR STARS
  • DON'T WAIT! THREE STARS
  • DON'T RUSH! TWO STARS
  • DON'T BOTHER! ONE STAR

Covo’s take: “People Like Us” FOUR STARS

Simply put, this quirky and original film from Alex Kurtzman (in his directorial debut) easily makes the list of this summer’s must-see films. 

Far from being a summer blockbuster (no special effects, talking teddy bears or Bat Mobiles here) this is a personal film designed to tug on your heartstrings – and does so very, very well. Another thing it does beautifully is to share a view of Los Angeles as a place where people live.

And while there are no Bat Mobiles, there is an awfully pretty cherry-red throw-back convertible and shelves full of vinyl records that will charm anyone who can remember and serves as a more than decent backdrop to this story about families and why, in spite of everything, blood is indeed thicker than water.

The sentiment is palpable in the extraordinary performances and onscreen chemistry between the actors – the top reason this film is worth your time and money.

In a nutshell, Sam (Chris Pine) discovers he has a half-sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) and is tasked with delivering a gift to her from their late father. The story develops around the fact that Sam, a flawed character who is learning to become a better human being, doesn’t know how to tell her the truth from the get go, complicating things a bit. 

While it sounds like – and is – a bit Hollywood soap, the way the characters develop and interact is real enough to make it easy for the audience to relate to them and like them. It all boils down to the fact that while you don’t always like your family, generally speaking, you always love them. 

It may not work for everybody, but it certainly worked for me. I recommend this film without reservation – it certainly is “the feel good film” of the summer. 

Director Kurtzman, Jody Lambert and Roberto Orci wrote the film which stars Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass and Jon Favreau and Michael Hall D’Addario. 

The film opens nationwide on June 29. “People Like Us” is rated PG-13 and runs for 115 delightful minutes.

Ayotte’s take: “People Like Us” FOUR STARS

For some reason, the latest trend in movies to make them as long as possible. On the average, movies today run right at the two-hour mark, but I remember they used to be 90 minutes long or so and that was it. There was no need to drag on and on -- the story was told and we moved on.

“People Like Us,” would have been a 5-star movie in my opinion if it wasn’t 115 minutes long. Maybe discounting a movie because of its length could be considered trivial, but in this case my point is valid. The acting and story is fantastic but you will reach a point in the movie where the story has been told in its entirety and you begin to ask yourself what more do they need to include. Granted, the ending has a clever twist, but Director Alex Kurtzman could have got there a little faster.

Chris Pine (Sam) and Elizabeth Banks (Frankie) by far deliver the best acting performances of the year. Their chemistry on screen is undeniable and when you tie in the supporting cast this movie is a no brainer. Banks’ son in the movie played by Michael Hall D’Addario (Josh) was the epitome of a smart-ass and added an element to the film that made it that much more entertaining.

Michelle Pfeiffer (Lillian) and Olivia Wilde (Hannah) deserve mention as well because it’s Pfeiffer and Wilde and it would be sacrilegious not to mention them.

The story presented in the film might not be the most original, but you’re either ripping off The Beatles or The Rolling Stones as they say, so it’s hard to come up with something nobody's ever seen before. The little nuances of the film are original, like the fact Banks almost makes out with her brother Pine or that their father has the best collection of vinyl records ever.

Frankie’s son is a trouble-maker but not of the classic type. He’s more sophisticated. He blows up a pool with a sulfur rock and beats up a bully with a textbook—smart and resourceful.

I recommend everyone go see this film -- including guys. It’s far from a chick-flick but does have that sentimental feel. However “People Like Us” has a balance other films in the genre don’t have. Add to that, the fact that Pine is not some boring character going through the motions and Banks’ is a sassy firecracker that you just fall in love with and want to marry, and the result is a great flick.

 

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