Film Review: As Good As You

This tale of a lesbian’s frantic search for love of any kind is very stale stuff, and made worse by one of those from-indie-hell, bad singer-songwriter music soundtracks.
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Thank God for Annie Potts! Although this critic did not recognize her at first in As Good as You, the inimitably winsome comic spunk which made her a star still sparkles, even in a tiny role as an overpriced, confrontational pregnancy therapist. She is so good that I began to wonder where she’s been professionally of late, throwing me completely out of the film she graces.

Rookie director Heather de Michele helms an autobiographical script by another first-timer, Gretchen M. Michelfeld, about a middle-aged woman in Los Angeles, Jo (Laura Heisler), who is still mourning the loss of her wife, Amanda, to cancer. To keep her love alive, she decides to have their long-planned-for baby by Amanda’s younger (and even younger-acting) brother, Jamie (Bryan Dechart). A counseling session before undergoing hormone therapy with Potts’ Dr. Berg is strongly advised by Jo’s doctors. Their first session goes hilariously wrong—the one funny scene in this would-be mama-dramedy, with Jo’s neurotic desperation and frightening neediness suddenly surfacing, throwing her decidedly irresponsible life plan for perfect happiness severely out of whack.

Although the film positions itself as determinedly anti-yuppie, with its characters toiling at careers like Jo’s aspiring writing and her lesbian best friend Lisa (Anna Fitzwater) supporting her punk photography by working in a bar, it’s nonetheless striking how much in common these supposed have-nots possess with the worst examples of those narcissistic upper-class types they presumably eschew. They’re self-centered, unsympathetic navel-gazers with clueless agendas.

Early in the film, Jo, who as Heisler plays her would best be described as off-puttingly goony, makes the first of many missteps by sloppily sleeping with Lisa, who suddenly conceives a real romantic yearning for her longtime chum that is unrequited, with quite bitter results. One supposes that the filmmakers intended to mean this as indicative of how completely thrown our heroine is by the passing of her partner, but instead of empathy, you just recoil from such a hapless lot of bad decision-makers. In terms of maturity, these whiney losers are severely stunted, behaving more like bratty, frenetically wayward Millennials just out of good colleges.

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