Starring Connie Nielsen, Jonathan Sadowski, Sara Paxton, David Aaron Baker
It should have been called “All the Same” or “All Related.” I was into this film in the first 20 minutes; it seemed like a script that was interested in pursuing a young man’s interest in an older mature woman over a younger blond bimbo. The juxtaposition had me intrigued. Connie Nielson (Gladiator) is looking better than ever; the vibe is good. Then, like screeches from a Hitchcock film, it goes exactly where it shouldn’t, the same place Prime, Adore, Your Sister’s Sister, The Judge, Rumor Has It, In the Land of Women, and The Joneses have all gone before. I swear I couldn’t hear anything else these characters were saying; it became complete white noise. The only thing that remained in my head for the for the remainder of the film was naming the movie titles of the films from which it was ripped.
On an innocent night of bowling, nearly a year after his fiancé cheated on him, Harry (Sadowski) is encouraged by his wing man to talk to the skinny blond on the next lane. Harry and Grace (Paxton) get to know each other, but after he walks her home she reveals she is seeing someone else. Drowning his sorrows at a local hotel bar, Harry gets noticed by a middle-aged woman in red, Maren (Nielson). She tells him he shouldn’t drink alone, and before you know it they are having meaningless sex in her room. Weeks later, Harry has pursued the blond bimbo until he has won her heart and is finally going to meet her parents. Guess who her mother is.
What begins as a smart ironic comedy turns into something Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl might star in.
All of Nielson’s channeling 1989 Kim Basinger playing Vicki Vale is wasted, poof, gone. The minute the cat is out of the bag and the awkwardness between Harry and Maren begins, this woman in red turns into a Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy character. My first thought of the best friend being written like an American Pie character, quickly becomes the least of All Relative’s problems. The nosedive is so severe, so obvious, so boring that unless you missed all the films I named above and live in a bubble, this stereotypical cliché is a one-trick pony all the way to the gate.
If there is to be a redeeming quality to the film—and admittedly I wasn’t interested in looking for it after I had thrown up my hands in disgust—it would be Maren’s line of, “Sometimes it takes almost losing someone to realize how much they mean to you.” What begins as a smart ironic comedy turns into something Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl might star in. Yuck! This is just not an interesting film; it’s contrived, lazy, and pathetic when there could have been so many different paths.
You have already seen this movie, more times than you realize.