Writer/director James C. Strouse has fashioned a gentle dramedy about an illustrator grappling with an upheaval in his life. New Zealand comedy star Jemaine Clement (one of the Flight of the Conchords duo) plays Will, a father of twin five-year-old girls whose marriage crumbles when he catches his wife Charlie in flagrante delicto with another man. Flash forward one year and we see Will is barely coping with being a single Dad while instructing young college students in New York in the art of the graphic novel. Jauntily scored entr’actes show images of the graphic novel that Will sketches during his quiet time at home, and these single image frames deftly and metaphorically illustrate his inner turmoil in ways he is unable to articulate.
Strouse’s sweet movie coasts along on the charisma of its central character Will, well-portrayed by Clement, whose goofy and amiable charm sustains the otherwise slight storyline. “Happiness is not a sustainable condition,” is the theme, openly stated by (somewhat) sad-sack Will. When our hero finally does take steps towards what he wants, it’s only a couple of small acts but represents a huge shift.
The supporting characters are all well observed and well played, especially Regina Hall as an (at first) awkward love interest for Will.
People, Places, Things is a mildly amusing observational comedy about relationships that has its droll moments. While ultimately hopeful and definitely watchable, for the most part the movie merely muddles along much like Will does.
This review first appeared in Filmink Magazine.