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dir Jay Chandrasekhar
scr Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow
prd Jason Blum, Jay Chandrasekhar, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
with Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Nat Faxon, Wood Harris, Jay Chandrasekhar, Aisha Tyler, Collette Wolfe, Hayes MacArthur, Constance Zimmer, Tommy Dewey, Bill Fagerbakke
release US 3.Aug.12, UK 28.Sep.12
12/US Alliance 1h38
Prospective parents: Schneider and Munn
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
What starts as an insightful, bracingly straight-spoken comedy about infertility falls apart in the final act when it diverts into a wacky, under-developed adventure. Even the solid cast can't make up for such lazy writing and directing.
On their third anniversary, Audrey (Munn) reminds Tommy (Schneider) that it's time to start a family. But after trying for several months, tests show that Tommy's low sperm count is the problem. And he doesn't take this news well. Then he remembers the sperm bank he donated to years earlier, and tries to make a withdrawal. But the last batch has just been sold. So his chucklehead pals (Heffernan and Faxon) help him stage a heist with the help of a nutcase Indian criminal (Chandrasekhar).
While this isn't much more than a series of gross-out gags, Munn and Schneider play their roles with an offhanded charm that feels believable. Their chemistry is feisty and funny in the film's first act, grounding most of the humour in earthy reality while keeping us laughing due to the outrageously frank dialog. The fertility issue offers all kinds of potential for an amusingly comical exploration of relationship issues, and it's great to see this script tap into this without flinching away from things that might offend polite society.
Then the filmmakers run out of ideas, indulging in a series of inane masturbation and semen jokes before falling into contrived slapstick. These diversions mean that the movie feels badly padded out with contrived sideroads that turn Tommy and his friends into complete idiots. There isn't anything the actors can do with these thinly written cartoon characters. But the worst part is the elaborately stupid climactic break-in, an unfunny aside that takes over the film.
In other words, the screenwriters clearly didn't feel like taking a more risky, inventive comical approach to the topic, so they just give the movie over to the half-baked caper. And this is especially annoying since we had begun to care about Tommy and Audrey's dilemma, which is genuinely resonant and very nicely played. Corny smut-jokes are bad enough, but when they're thrown into a cockamamie robbery, we just give up.
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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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