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The Hollars

2017-03-03 08:07
 

What it's about:

A struggling NYC artist, John Hollar is forced to return to the small, middle-American town he left behind after learning about his mother’s illness. Back in the house he grew up in, John is immediately swept up in the problems of his dysfunctional family, high school rival and an over-eager ex-girlfriend as he faces impending fatherhood with his NYC girlfriend.

What we thought:

The Hollars is one of those films you watch and almost immediately forget about until you have to write a review for it. Though the cast has some big hitters like John Krasinski (also the director), Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale and South Africa’s homeboy Sharlto Copley, nothing about the script will get an audience vaguely excited or interested about the lives of a family completely absorbed with each other and themselves. No amount of cliché indie-dysfunctional-family-film tropes can make this stand out at this weekend’s cinema line-up.

A wannabe artist (Krasinski) travels back to his hometown after hearing that his mother (Martindale) has been hospitalised. While dealing with her diagnosis, he also has to handle a divorced brother (Copley), a financially struggling dad (Richard Jenkins), a pregnant girlfriend (Kendrick) and his own crippling feelings of inadequacy as a father-to-be.

Krasinski isn’t exactly new to the directing game. He directed another critically panned indie film Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and despite having another stellar cast, has been completely forgotten. The Hollars will also barely register on the cinema circuit, and not for lack of trying. It’s just such a boring film – it isn’t even terrible enough to make you want to pick it apart. Krasinski isn’t a bad director, and maybe he’ll get it right on his third try, but for now his style is quite bland and without anything that would make it unique. 

Copley was a complete oddity, portraying an unhinged divorcé obsessed with spending time with his kids. Everyone else seemed comfortable in their roles (maybe too comfortable) but Copley looked like he was constantly on hard-core drugs, and the fact that his character was even married in the first place makes little sense. Martindale gave the best performance, but that’s mostly because it’s 'Character Actress Margot Martindale' (bad Bojack Horseman joke) and not because of script or directing. The rest of the cast was quite forgettable, sprinkled with a reverend Josh Groban, because why not?

The Hollars is the poor man’s version of every other good indie-film about families that are slightly insane. There really is no audience out there that might sincerely enjoy this drab stab at the quirky comedrama, so it’s better just to let this one quietly slip by without feeling the need to boast to your friends that you’ve seen it.

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