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People Like Us
by Tony Medley
Run time 120
OK for children.
Not many people
saw the 2005 indie Heights, but I thought it one of the best of
the year and marked Elizabeth Banks as a real comer, not just a pretty
face (and she is probably the most beautiful woman in Hollywood
She has since
appeared in lots of films, but never as the lead. Here she finally gets
to strut her stuff, and she exceeds my expectations.
writer/director Alex Kurtzman's background, Frankie (Banks) is a 30-year
old unwed mother of 11-year old Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario). She is a
recovering alcoholic working as a bartender, barely making ends meet.
Sam (Chris Pine) is in his 20s, a smooth (or not so smooth) salesman in
deep trouble on a business deal when he learns his estranged father has
died. When he reluctantly returns for the funeral, he discovers the
existence of Frankie, who is his half-sister from an affair of his
father, and things spiral onward from there.
to Disney and Dreamworks for making and distributing an American movie
that actually has a story, emotions, great acting and directing and not
even the hint of a special effect or a superhero.
I think that 2
hours is too long for a movie of this sort, but this passed the watch
test with flying colors as I never was cognizant of time passing. While
part of that is the sheer enjoyment of looking at Banks' beauty, most of
it is the excellence and tenderness of the story and the wonderful
acting by the principals, Banks, Pine, D'Addario, Michelle Pfeiffer, who
plays Sam's mother, and Olivia Wilde, who plays Sam's girlfriend at the
beginning of the film.
will appreciate some of the familiar city locations.
I'm closing my
critique with something that has nothing to do with the film but
everything to do with the people who achieve stardom in Hollywood. ). I
understand from a friend who was there that when Banks accepted an award
for Best Actress at the Maui Film Festival she dropped an F bomb in
front of an audience that included lots of children. If this is true,
and I have no reason to believe that it isn't, she needs someone to
counsel her about class, refinement, good taste, and responsibility. Shame on you, Elizabeth.