Sundance London 2014: They Came Together, Hits, and Memphis
They Came Together
They Came Together states straight away that the story contains obvious romantic comedy clichés. Molly (Amy Poehler) and Joel (Paul Rudd) are dining with their friends Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper) discussing when they first met; “It’s a long story” they say, and boy was it! Using split screen techniques (much like You’ve Got Mail) and long shots above the NYC skyline (…every romantic comedy based in NYC) we are introduced to Molly and Joel living separate lives who nearly run into each other everywhere they go. With cliché shots and narrative throughout, They Came Together never once takes itself seriously and acknowledges to the audience its satirical attitude towards romance every chance it gets. The film is a continuous barrel of laughs, highly recommended for those wanting a mashup between Parks and Rec and You’ve Got Mail.
The film plays its first joke from the very beginning when the voice of Ellen DeGeneres is heard interviewing a celebrity, before realizing that it’s actually Katelyn (Meredith Hagner) sitting in her car imitating her fantasy. Then we are introduced to Katelyn’s father, Dave (Matt Walsh), who is listening to a government rant on the radio while driving home from his job. Dave is a lonely man whose obsession with “corrupt” local government has taken over his entire life, devoting all of his energy in bringing an onslaught of complaints to the town halls attention.
Katelyn and Dave are two very determined individuals who will go to any lengths to achieve their goals. One dreams to be famous while the other just wants to have his pot holes filled by the city. However, neither one of the character are fully developed. I’m not exactly sure on the what genre David Cross was going for; comedy/drama seems to fit the bill, however, the film had much fewer laughs than I think Cross was aiming for.
There was only a short amount of time that Memphis was actually able to grab my attention. The film was little more than just a montage of mood pieces to depict the life of Willis Earl Beal, a singer who loses his mind before recording an album. From start to finish, the film is a long mishmash of beautiful, but unimportant imagery with an inconclusive storyline. The experimental arrangement made it nearly impossible to decipher what was going on. After the screening, another member of the press took the words right out of my mouth, describing Memphis as “a tedious, meandering character study which offers little insight into a city, the music business, and a society”.