21 December 2011 | mbs
Strong dialog keeps the breezy movie driving forward quite nicely
Pretty funny black and white film follows an argumentative brother and sister combo as he drives her on a road trip upstate to try and get her things out of her ex lover's apt. While in the town she runs into some people they knew back in high school who invite her to crash a party while dragging her brother begging and pleading not to alongside her. While the movie's plot doesn't sound like too much--you get such a strong sense of the two characters personalities (and their gradual realizations about their would be lives) that just watching the two of them argue back and fourth throughout the film's running time proves to be quite funny. Watching them try to get upstate in the first half is a surprisingly funny movie in itself. The two characters'lifelike ability to work up a good rhythm with their dialog while picking on each other keeps you on your toes enough for you to really get into the movie's flow. This also keeps the movie's pace sharp and just quick enough for you to almost miss the more subtle turn the film takes in its second half. When you get to the movie's end, you might be a little jarred, but you'll have definitely enjoyed the ride there at least.
The second half does gets slightly more dramatic, but not anywhere close to really damper the breezy mood the film's already established so far. While the film will inevitably (and somewhat wrongly) get tagged with the "mumblecore" label, the fact is the strong and at times stinging dialog keeps it from being just another indie film about slackery young people talking about nothing. The two lead performances also vary a bit more then the typical non performances found in "mumblecore" type films, and the tone of the whole movie remains firmly in the director's control the entire time without ever sacrificing the humor that sometimes comes with slight character growth. It definitely helps that the slightly Tina Fey looking sister played by the very good Carleen Altman can't help but standout given the focus on her character and the depth given to her by the screenplay. This one's a much more accessible film then you'd ever imagine a mumblecore type movie to be and that could very well be its key to being seen by more people.