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Are You Here

Release Date:
22 Aug 2014
Genre:
Comedy
Country:
USA
Runtime:
114 min

Ben Baker is a man-child who lives on his friend's couch getting high. His friend, Steve Dallas, is a moderately successful weather reporter who is living a superficial life. When Ben receives word that his father has died, Steve drives him home and they re-connect with Ben's successful and driven sister Terri and hippie step-mother Angela who is the same age as they are. The reading of the will drives Ben to come up with a new purpose in life, but those around him don't prove to be very supportive, and then they all re-examine their own life.If you love comedy movies about friendship and dysfunctional families in difficult situations, then add the Are You Here movie to your list of must-sees. It looks like it's one of those painfully-awkward films that's hard to watch yet you can't help but look. Tempered with hilarity and at the same time heart-warming charm, it isn't apt to disappoint. The audience rating over at Rotten Tomatoes of those who are just dying to see it is a whopping 90%. You can add my name to that list. Are You Here is the creation of Emmy Winner Matthew Weiner, the father of the madly successful serial "Mad Men" and writer for the equally popular "The Sopranos". If you've ever followed "Mad Men" then you know Weiner has a gifted insight into dysfunctional relationships. But new comedy romance movie isn't his first experience with the genre. He cut his teeth writing on sitcoms like "Becker" and "The Naked Truth". movie's cast is the penultimate combination for a comedy romance that leaves you somewhere between squirming and laughing, then squirming again. Ben Baker, played by Zach Galifianakis, is an antisocial, paranoid, off-the-grid and somewhat delusional fellow who becomes completely unhinged after the death of his estranged father. Prior to that he has spent his time sequestered in a cabin, foaming over the environment and writing feverishly at a book he considers to be of visionary proportions. Add to the fact that the family fortune and business are left solely to him and not his long-suffered cynical sister, Terry, played by SNL sweetheart Amy Poehler, there's obviously a train wreck in the making. Ben's best friend and weed supplier, the smarmy, albeit clumsy womanizing weatherman Steve Dallas is played by Owen Wilson who turns up for work stoned at the local news channel and lives by maxing out his credit cards. Being best buddies since childhood, Steve accompanies poor confused Ben on a road trip to their hometown to help him sort through the legal challenges thrown in his path by Terry. Toss in the young and gorgeous newly-widowed stepmother as Steve's new love interest and all the elements are there for a mad-cap culture-clashing roller coaster ride as these two men navigate the zigzag path of self knowledge and a better world. It seems the critics aren't as jazzed about film as I am, however. Christopher Schobert of The Playlist calls it "shockingly inept" and David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews calls it "mediocre", citing that both Wilson and Galifianakis were cast into typical roles we've seen in the past. Maybe so, but if it's not broken why fix it? Even Poehler's role isn't new for her, yet movie-goers keep turning up at the box office. Weiner spent 8 years pursuing Wilson for the role of Steve Dallas. That kind of vision has to go somewhere, doesn't it? Not everyone can claim the refined movie-snobbery of a critic. Some of us just want to sit back and be entertained in our way for our own reasons. The Are You Here movie was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September of 2013. It was met then with mixed reviews and Weiner made some adjustments. The movie is set to open in theaters in the US on August 22nd. I plan to see it. Join me!

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Runtime:
114 minutes
Language:
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Runtime:
114 minutes
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