Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman
Happy: What are you reading?
Brian: Uh, it’s an article about a Tibetan Rinpoche who plays basketball with some other monks in Arizona. It says they got in a fight with five advertising executives in front of a bunch of kids…what are you reading?
Happy: Um… mostly just ads. This one’s for a meditation cushion…that’s filled with buckwheat…it costs $249.
Brian: It’s a cushion?
Happy: Yeah…it’s mostly just a pillow that…looks like a stump.
Brian: Seems like a lot.
Brian (Dano), a salesman of high priced mattresses, has always dreamed of adopting a Chinese baby. He’s single and under 30, so it’s difficult for him to get approved, but he’s on a waiting list. One day he meets Happy (Deschanel), the daughter of a man he sells a mattress to. They start up a relationship which seems a bit destined for trouble.
Okay, that’s a very basic plot description I’ve provided above. There’s a lot more thrown in to this movie. So much that it feels cluttered and unnecessarily complicated. There’s Brian’s lonely scientist friend who seems to exist only in his lab. There’s various scenes with John Goodman being transported around in the back of a station wagon because of his back problems. We get segments involving Brian’s dull family, Happy’s annoying family, the quirky employees at the mattress business, and then the weirdest subplot involving a homeless man (played by Zach Galifianakis) constantly attacking Brian with a pipe, a gun, and his fists.
All of that is in addition to the main plots about Brian and Happy’s relationship and Brian’s attempts at adopting a Chinese baby. Maybe it would all work better together if all of the subplots work, but they do not. Brian’s family is very boring. Ed Asner plays his father, and the movie came to a dead stop every time they let Asner go off on one of his speeches. There just didn’t seem to be much of a point to most of the scenes with the family, especially their little trip into the wilderness.
Zooey is playing yet another, ditzier, variation on the pixie-girl-inserted-into-lonely-guy’s-life character she’s being pigeonholed into these days. This is the second movie in a row I’ve watched with her in it, and though there are some similarities between the two characters, she was much more interesting and enjoyable in 500 Days of Summer. Paul Dano is alright in the lead, but his nearly complete lack of emotion or joy makes it hard to root for him in his quest to adopt a child. It seems like he’s depending too much on the child bringing him happiness, when he should be concentrating on bringing happiness to the child. And there’s another plot twist (I think…) late in the movie that would bring his qualifications as a potential father into question to an even greater extent if other people knew about it.
There are some funny moments here, especially towards the beginning, and it almost achieves some touching moments near the end, but overall I felt very detached from this movie. It did not maintain my interest or make me care about anybody involved, which ultimately makes for an unpleasant movie watching experience.
Sweden makes the best beds because they have longer nights, thus more sleeping time.
10 – 2.5 for dull subplots – 1 for dull lead characters – .6 for the whole thing with the homeless guy = 5.9