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ABOUT ALEX (review)

about_alex_ver2ABOUT ALEX
Written and Directed by Jesse Zwick
Starring Jason Ritter, Aubrey Plaza, Nate Parker and Max Greenfield
 

Sarah: This is like an ’80s movie.

If you ever wondered what THE BIG CHILL would look like if it were remade and slightly tweaked for the hipster set, then ABOUT ALEX is tailored just for you. The rub is that writer/director Jesse Zwick is sharply aware that the comparisons will abound and thus his script is peppered with meta self-aware references to the early ’80s classic. From the titular Alex (Jason Ritter), the lead character whose suicide attempt reunites his formerly tight-knit group of friends, to the dog, jokingly named Jeff Goldblum, to the playboy man-child Josh (Max Greenfield) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Goldblum, the similarities are endless, yet Zwick is very much in on the joke. Even so, comparing a classic masterpiece with a subpar indie copycat of said film is a parlour trick, and one audiences will grow weary of rapidly.

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The film opens on Alex, whose self-confessed, half-hearted suicide attempt brings back together his group of friends from university who, in the years since graduation, have fallen out of sync with one another. They include common law couple Ben (Nate Parker) and Siri (Maggie Grace), Isaac (Max Minghella) and his far younger girlfriend Kate (Jane Levy, star of the upcoming TIFF premiere, BANG BANG BABY), womanizer Josh, and anxiety ridden attorney Sarah (Aubrey Plaza of TV’s Parks and Recreation). Their three-day weekend together at Alex’s country home uncovers many deep seated resentments, fears, and long buried passions amongst the members of the group.

Much like the film it mirrors, ABOUT ALEX‘s greatest strength lies in the palpable chemistry shared by the capable ensemble. The predominantly TV-based cast realistically spark to life unsettled friendships that, thanks to Zwick’s screenplay, will unleash audience members’ memories of university bonds that never received their warranted formal closure. If you’re willing to overlook its wafer thin premise, ABOUT ALEX‘s charming cast are worth watching.

2 sheep

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