Ned (Paul Rudd) is a hippie farmer who sells a sentimental police officer marijuana at a farmer's market, leading to his arrest. When he gets out of jail his girlfriend's kicked him off of their farm, replaced him with a new boyfriend, and he's forced to crash with one family member after the next trying to get back on his feet.
Director Jesse Peretz really made something cool about of this film that lacked subtly, unpredictability and originality. Things flowed well and every shot was very aesthetically pleasing or mood setting.
Ned's need for hand sanitizer, charades with the family, River's message from Ned, and meeting Dolly.
Characters and conflicts are pushed to far extremes which really hammers home the theme that Ned isn't the screw-up, the world is screwed up, but it hammers that theme in with a sledgehammer. Predictability is another fault. Within the first half an hour of the film, having met all of the characters and knowing how Hollywood works, there's no guess-work needed as to how things are going to wrap up (although there was thankfully one conflict meeting closure I didn't see coming.) And as far as originality, Dumb and Dumber and Dinner for Schmucks were far superior in this film genre, if we're going to classify all three of these films under the same simpleton-gets-mocked-for-living-happily-by-unhappy-complex-"real-world"-people genre.
On the other hand, it's got a ton of charm and mark out moments. (Marking out: When a fan or on-screen character cheers or boos with great enthusiasm.) Zooey Deschanel and Rashida Jones give the fans exactly what you would want from them, and bad guys get what's coming to them swift and harsh, and America is a sucker for good man-and-dog platonic-love story. There may be a few sickos out there who love man-and-dog romantic-love stories, but hopefully they're few and far between. So while the film is far from perfect, it's an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes, but really only if you watch it from beginning to end. It's a long depressing toll on the soul watching the first sixty minutes roll, but the closure makes the journey worth it. Overall rating...
3 / 5
When You Should See It:
If it comes on TV or something and you don't have anything else to do, give it a shot. It's a perfectly acceptable film, although I don't suggest actively pursuing a rental, on-demand order, or blind-buy.
image from Amazon