Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks have a new movie out Today, “People Like Us”. And while it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it’s absolutely nowhere near the best. Chris Pine plays Sam, who, when we first meet him, seems to have everything going for him. He works facilitating barters and in the opening scenes closes a million-dollar deal that will earn him a commission that he desperately needs. Once he gets back to the office however, his seemingly successful life takes a dive. Apparently he set up the delivery of a product that went wrong, and now if he doesn’t right things the FTC will get into his boss’ business and Sam will get fired. Setting things right isn’t an impossible task, but when he gets home he finds out that his father has died, and he has to go home to LA for the funeral. When he arrives, we learn that Sam didn’t have the greatest relationship with his father, and he describes him as a giant prick who essentially avoided him his whole life. Then, he gets a call from his dad’s lawyer who gives him a shaving kit for Sam to open. Inside is $150,000 in cash; at first, Sam thinks it’s his lucky day, but then he sees a note from his dad, telling him to give the money to someone named Josh Davis, and to take care of them.
When Sam goes to find out who Josh Davis is, he sees Josh’s mom (Elizabeth Banks) and assumes she’s one of his dad’s mistresses. But as he’s following her around (creepily), he follows her into an AA meeting, where he learns to his extreme surprise that he and this woman, named Frankie, share the same father. From there, Sam essentially gets to know Frankie and Josh, without telling them who he really is. From here you can guess what happens, as this sort of storyline has been used over and over to the point where it’s painfully identifiable. First, the protagonist (usually a man) enters the life of the other person under false pretenses, with every intention of telling her the truth. But before he knows it, the moment to be up front about things has passed, and the fraudulent relationship carries on until the truth is inevitably found out by the other person. Cue anger, separation of the two parties, and the predictable moment when he comes clean and apologizes, and all is resolved.
On top of having an extremely predictable plot, “People Like Us” had more than its fair share of moments where I found myself asking, “Now what are the chances of that really happening?”, and, “How did she know that was going to be there?” And then at the end of the movie everything is resolved except for that tiny little impending arrest by the FTC. But I suppose we’re just supposed to forget it, he’s got a sister now!
Apart from all that, the movie wasn’t bad. Chris Pine is a decent lead actor, although it’s hard to know if he’s better than decent when the script itself is not the best. Elizabeth Banks also holds her own as his sister, while Michelle Pfeiffer is almost unrecognizable as his mother. The star of the movie turns out to be Josh, a brilliant Michael Hall D’Addario. Josh is a smart-ass 11-year-old who has to deal with having to grow up too fast with a recovering alcoholic as a mother, no father, and not many friends at all. Needless to say, this kid is a little troubled, and acting out as a result. He is, however, the only comic relief to be found in the movie.
If you’re debating whether or not to see “People Like Us”, I’d say it’s a toss-up. It’s a pretty average movie, better than “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” but not as nearly as good as “Ted”. Or just wait for it to hit the Redbox, it will equally not impact your life either way.