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Parents' Guide to

Literally, Right Before Aaron

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Talented cast can't save mature, uneven romantic dramedy.

Movie NR 2017 105 minutes
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Despite being classified as a romantic comedy, this occasionally amusing but mostly unlikable indie is actually an anti-romcom about an irredeemable sad sack who misses the one who got away. There are times that actor Ryan Eggold's directorial debut has a (500) Days of Summer vibe mixed with the Owen Wilson subplot of Meet the Parents -- except that instead of the seemingly perfect man being the ex, here he's the groom, and the seemingly sensitive beta male is the sad and confused ex. Hansen's Aaron is a bit too bro-ish of a Renaissance man to be believable, but he's still somehow more likable than Adam, who does some awful things that make it pretty clear why he's not the one at the altar. If anything, neither male character is portrayed as good enough for Smulders' Allison, who's positively luminous, as well as intelligent and apparently genuinely interested in Adam's welfare (it's unclear exactly why they broke up 18 months earlier).

Aside from Smulders, the best part of the film is the talented but underused supporting cast. There's John Cho as Adam's best friend, Mark; the always-entertaining Schaal as Adam's socially awkward date; Peter Gallagher as the egotistical star of the nature documentaries Adam films; and Luis Guzmán as a catering employee who tries to dole out sage advice during the reception. Lea Thompson and Dana Delany each pop up in a scene as Adam's and Allison's mothers, and it's a shame they aren't in more of the movie. Even though Literally, Right Before Aaron doesn't quite work, Eggolds deserves props for pulling together a great cast and eliciting decent performances; perhaps his next film will be more cohesive.

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