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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Sitcom-like plot derails tired, lie-driven dramedy.

Movie R 2019 101 minutes
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This dramedy (Kinnear's directing debut) has its touching, thoughtful moments, but mostly it relies on a creaky old sitcom-like "lie" plot that douses nearly every potential laugh. For Phil, screenwriter Stephen Mazur -- whose credits include things like Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls -- cooks up one routine after another in which "Spiros" lies about something and then must later talk or dance his way out of it. Some of these moments, such as Alicia presenting "Spiros" with packages of Greek cigarettes, could have been avoided with a simple "I don't smoke anymore," but instead the character gulps, lamely smokes, and coughs his head off. And it's supposed to be funny.

As a director, Kinnear is better at serious moments, such as Phil trying to connect with his increasingly distant teen daughter. But unfortunately, the quieter moments between his character and Mortimer's are tainted by the lies; the moments all ring false. All in all, even though Kinnear's direction is geared more toward actors than visuals, the rest of the cast never gets much of a chance to come alive. Jay Duplass has perhaps the best opportunity to shine, but he's still stuck as the typical "best friend/brother" character, who does nothing but worry about the main character. Phil does get bonus points for avoiding a neatly packaged ending and allowing for a little life mystery, but on the whole it doesn't quite work.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 5, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming: July 5, 2019
  • Cast: Greg Kinnear , Emily Mortimer , Bradley Whitford
  • Director: Greg Kinnear
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Quiver
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 101 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: some language and a violent/disturbing image
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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