Thursday, August 21, 2014

More men who've yet to grow up

If Matthew Weiner, creator of the landmark TV series Mad Men, accomplishes nothing else in his life, he will have earned a place in showbusiness history. Unfortunately, Weiner's first foray into big-screen entertainment isn't nearly as daring as his TV work. The major revelation offered by Are You Here are end-of-picture scenes in which Zach Galifianakis appears beardless. Other than that, you'll find only traces of Weiner's brilliance in a story about Ben and Steve, two friends (Galifianakis and Owen Wilson) who are going through separate crises. Things come to a head when Ben's father dies, and leaves him a ton of money, much to the dismay of Ben's more responsible sister, played by Amy Poehler). As it turns out, recently departed dad was living with a younger woman (Laura Ramsey), who attracts Steve's eye and who's stuck in full earth mother mode throughout proceedings. Questions arise: Will bipolar Ben finally start taking his meds? Will Steve, who works at an Annapolis TV station as a weatherman, ever set aside his glib, irresponsible ways? Neither Ben nor Steve is exceptionally interesting, which means the only reliable pleasure in Are You Here stems from some of Weiner's clever dialogue. It seems clear that Weiner wanted to do something that would be both funny and meaningful. I hope, in his next effort, he's more successful. This bromance takes few unexpected turns.

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