Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd are both names most any avid moviegoer might recognize, but what about Phil Morrison? Eight years ago, the filmmaker made his debut with the critically celebrated ensemble piece Junebug, the picture that single-handedly vaulted Amy Adams – most recently seen taking the stage in Man of Steel – into the awards season spotlight. Admittedly, Morrison’s own name wound up lost in the Oscar shuffle, but it’s odd that he’s only making his sophomore film, All is Bright, close to a decade after the fact.
And, frankly, the above trailer makes early judgment on his efforts a bit difficult. At a glance, All is Bright doesn’t look like the follow-up from Junebug‘s lauded director at all; it’s comic enough, yes, but where Junebug ends up taking on an examination of one very insular family, All is Bright reads as nothing more than a frothy seasonal farce. Grant that only so much can be gleaned from a two-minute trailer, but the footage leaves an undeniable buddy comedy impression.
Of course, when the buddies in question are as talented as Rudd and Giamatti, something that’s otherwise standard can become much, much greater just through their presence. The film follows two French Canadian scoundrels, the charming, affable Rene (Rudd) and the curmudgeonly Dennis (Giamatti), as they try to make an honest living selling Christmas trees in New York City. They’re very obviously playing to type – Giamatti and grouchiness go together like peanut butter and jelly, while Rudd’s nice guy persona has defined him as a performer for years – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when they play those types so well.
Giving credit where credit’s due, the clip packs a few really solid one-liners and wisecracks; if Morrison just wanted to make light comic fare, he seems to be on-track to success. But it’s difficult to shake the feeling that All is Bright is a remarkably minor work from someone who bore enormous promise as a major filmmaking talent in what feels like an age ago. Maybe All is Bright has more up its sleeve than male bonding and solid punchlines – oddly enough, the film mildly resembles this year’s indie comedy Prince Avalanche, in which Rudd also starred – or maybe it’ll just be a fun lark.
Either way, it may be worth seeing for Giamatti and Rudd alone, as well as Sally Hawkins, most recently seen doing great work in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. The film hits US theaters in just under a month, so we’ll find out for certain shortly.
All is Bright begins its theatrical run October 4th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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