Archives for posts with tag: David Paymer

There’s no question mark in the title of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (2019) and yet it’s asking us all something very important. What’s the difference between eccentric and crazy? The answer is a little too pat – the eccentric must be productively creative to keep from becoming menacingly crazy – and awkwardly told. We’re dealing with a rather serious issue and yet there’s a lot of uncomfortably wacky hijinks pitting protagonist Cate Blanchett against neighborhood ubermom Kristin Wiig. And some of the dialogue is a little over-the-top, even for a crazy person. And there’s an I-can’t-quite-place-it unlikability about Blanchett’s husband, Billy Crudup.

The crash of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s brought an era of lowered expectations that I don’t think we’ve ever fully gotten over. That small-ball sensibility seems to be what drives “In Good Company.” It’s got the architecture of a romantic comedy: middle-aged family man (Dennis Quaid) gets a new, young boss (Topher Grace) who falls for his daughter (Scarlett Johansson). But instead of hijinks, everyone takes turns receiving gut punches followed by small victories. The presumptive happy ending seems more relief than triumph. But that’s where we were in 2004, and now. Just relieved that we’re surviving.

It was filmed 20 miles from my old house, so, to prevent bias, you tell me how sucky “Chill Factor” (1999) is: An army colonel named Brynner spends 10 years in Leavenworth and comes out with Yul Brynner’s accent. Glass vials full of a chemical weapons agent get dropped on highway asphalt and don’t break. Said chemical agents cannot get warmer than 50 degrees or they will detonate, but the movie’s heroes decide to leave a diner – which has a walk-in freezer – and instead drive all over Montana with them. Plus, you have the dude from “Hardcastle and McCormick.” Well?