Tuesday, August 5, 2014

About Alex (2014)

How you react to About Alex will depend upon whether you’ve seen The Big Chill or not. If you’ve seen it then odds are you’re reaction to About Alex is going to be greatly diminished. On the other hand if you haven’t seen it you’ll be rapturous for it.

The plot of the film has a group of thirty somethings coming together to keep an eye on their friend Alex who has tried to commit suicide (the one major difference between this film and the Big Chill- the Kevin Costner character doesn’t die). The idea is that they will keep an eye on their friend to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Of course it opens up old wounds, old feelings and makes everyone wonder what it’s all about.

I saw this when it premiered at Tribeca back in April and my thought beyond how much this was like the Big Chill, was that the writing of the film, outside of the wicked and pithy dialog, was just sort of there. For me it was as if the writer worked as hard as could be on the fantastic exchanges but only sketched the plot and the characters with a crayon as if stealing it all from the Big Chill was enough. And the film is hyper aware of the fact its ripping off the Laurence Kasden film with the various characters making reference to how the film is exactly like the landmark film. Truthfully if they had spent enough time coming up with a real plot that wasn’t self-referential this would have been a great film.

As things stand this is a good but unremarkable film –granted if you’ve never seen the Big Chill you’ll rate this higher. I suspect that the real story behind the film was more an excuse to have a working vacation hanging out with friends then it was to actually make a movie

About Alex opens Friday.

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