Reviews - Major Releases


Film Review: Are You Here

“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner conjures empty men for his second feature outing, the story of two loser pals who win a chance to upgrade their lives when one happens upon an unexpected inheritance. Surprising failure on multiple counts.

Aug 20, 2014

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1406618-Are_You_Here_Md.jpg
Will the real Matthew Weiner please stand up? It seems impossible that the smash TV series “Mad Men” and dud Are You Here could have emanated from the same brain.

But evidence proves otherwise and the mystery behind creativity is furthered. Many viewers hooked on the consummately entertaining “Mad Men” may take a dip, but negative word of mouth might pollute those waters.

Weiner’s film is meant to be, it seems, an amusing look at the personal journeys of childhood pals Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson), a local ho-hum Maryland TV weatherman who, working a maxed-out credit card, excessively drinks, does his share of pot, frequents hookers, and compulsively ogles naked neighbors. No surprise that his longtime best bud Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis), who lives in a trailer, is a rudderless pothead slacker and a self-described “animal.”

But the death of Ben’s estranged father gooses the plot when Ben, accompanied by Steve, returns to his childhood farm to inherit and share an unexpected family fortune with his uptight married sister, Terry (Amy Poehler). There’s also Angela (Laura Ramsey), the father’s attractive 25-year-old trophy wife—their stepmom—to deal with. She’s given nothing, but has some sort of excuse to remain on the property besides becoming a potential love interest for Ben or Steve. Attentive viewers will see where this is all headed but won’t care.

Reacting to Ben having gotten the bigger slice of the inheritance, Terry blasts that “you were the squeaky wheel who got the oil.” Even Steve is given a stake because of his ties to Ben. Inspired by time spent on his long bong tube, Ben’s idea is to use the property to develop an Institute of Enlightenment.

A court battle ensues, initiated by Terry, which isn’t all bad because Peter Bogdanovich pops in as judge. Also lending a hand is shrink Dr. Vincent (Edward Hermann), who gives Ben a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which helps him in his battle with Terry. To further embellish the plot, Ben beats a creep at a bar and, particularly distasteful, Angela goads Steve to slaughter a chicken, which he does, so the gang can have dinner.

Steve further triumphs. Having been high on pot or drunk during his time on air as weatherman, he somehow gets promoted to news anchorman but quits the gig because the pure country life beckons, among other things. On the romantic end of things, Angela and the two pals figure prominently, even as what transpires rings as manufactured as anything out of a 3D printer.

The film is clearly meant to be funny, but attempts at humor are lame. Also lame is the title. Why no question mark? Where is “here”? Who is “you”?

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: Are You Here

“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner conjures empty men for his second feature outing, the story of two loser pals who win a chance to upgrade their lives when one happens upon an unexpected inheritance. Surprising failure on multiple counts.

Aug 20, 2014

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1406618-Are_You_Here_Md.jpg

Will the real Matthew Weiner please stand up? It seems impossible that the smash TV series “Mad Men” and dud Are You Here could have emanated from the same brain.

But evidence proves otherwise and the mystery behind creativity is furthered. Many viewers hooked on the consummately entertaining “Mad Men” may take a dip, but negative word of mouth might pollute those waters.

Weiner’s film is meant to be, it seems, an amusing look at the personal journeys of childhood pals Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson), a local ho-hum Maryland TV weatherman who, working a maxed-out credit card, excessively drinks, does his share of pot, frequents hookers, and compulsively ogles naked neighbors. No surprise that his longtime best bud Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis), who lives in a trailer, is a rudderless pothead slacker and a self-described “animal.”

But the death of Ben’s estranged father gooses the plot when Ben, accompanied by Steve, returns to his childhood farm to inherit and share an unexpected family fortune with his uptight married sister, Terry (Amy Poehler). There’s also Angela (Laura Ramsey), the father’s attractive 25-year-old trophy wife—their stepmom—to deal with. She’s given nothing, but has some sort of excuse to remain on the property besides becoming a potential love interest for Ben or Steve. Attentive viewers will see where this is all headed but won’t care.

Reacting to Ben having gotten the bigger slice of the inheritance, Terry blasts that “you were the squeaky wheel who got the oil.” Even Steve is given a stake because of his ties to Ben. Inspired by time spent on his long bong tube, Ben’s idea is to use the property to develop an Institute of Enlightenment.

A court battle ensues, initiated by Terry, which isn’t all bad because Peter Bogdanovich pops in as judge. Also lending a hand is shrink Dr. Vincent (Edward Hermann), who gives Ben a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which helps him in his battle with Terry. To further embellish the plot, Ben beats a creep at a bar and, particularly distasteful, Angela goads Steve to slaughter a chicken, which he does, so the gang can have dinner.

Steve further triumphs. Having been high on pot or drunk during his time on air as weatherman, he somehow gets promoted to news anchorman but quits the gig because the pure country life beckons, among other things. On the romantic end of things, Angela and the two pals figure prominently, even as what transpires rings as manufactured as anything out of a 3D printer.

The film is clearly meant to be funny, but attempts at humor are lame. Also lame is the title. Why no question mark? Where is “here”? Who is “you”?

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Major Releases

The Guest
Film Review: The Guest

A grieving family opens its doors to a polite young man who knew their late son when both were serving in the military in this cautionary thriller about the perils of taking things–and people–at face value. More »

No Good Deed
Film Review: No Good Deed

This one certainly doesn't go unpunished, at least for the audience. More »

The Drop review
Film Review: The Drop

An excellent cast carries this familiar crime story that relies on revelations a little far-fetched. More »

Dolphin Tale 2
Film Review: Dolphin Tale 2

Handicapped dolphin Winter finds a new friend in this wholesome sequel to a family favorite. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Drop review
Film Review: The Drop

An excellent cast carries this familiar crime story that relies on revelations a little far-fetched. More »

Dolphin Tale 2
Film Review: Dolphin Tale 2

Handicapped dolphin Winter finds a new friend in this wholesome sequel to a family favorite. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here