Clark Gregg writes, directs, and stars in this comedy about a former, less-than-successful child actor who is now a less-than-successful agent for child actors. He finally gets his big break when he meets a stunning fourteen-year-old actress who is about to be cast in a huge movie franchise and hires him to represent her.
|Agent Coulson is good with kids.|
The movie starts out how you might (and I did) expect -- kinda goofy, kinda cheesy and kinda funny, and with plenty of potential. It was a typical beginning for a nice, better-than-average 3.5 or 4-star movie, and the supporting cast that included Amanda Peet, Allison Janney and my favorite, Sam Rockwell didn't hurt things one tiny little bit.
But then. BUT THEN. The movie started to take a strange turn. The first act was absolutely a comedy; the second act was more dramady, which was understandable, since plot-drama was happening. The third act had no comedy whatsoever, and was downright strange. I understood what was going on well enough, but was completely lost as to what Mr. Gregg was trying to say with it. I'm still trying to decide if he was trying to make a joke that fell completely flat, or some deep, insightful and artistic statement -- that also fell flat. Or maybe he was just playing a mean trick on those of us who were hoping to see a fun comedy about the movie business full of some of our favorite people in the movie business.
|Hmm. Maybe he was making a statement about the movie business.|
So while the strange and creepy twist that turned into a confusing, unsatisfying and ambiguous ending pretty much ruined the whole rest of the movie, up until the point of it's being ruined, it was quite enjoyable -- pretty funny, and involving and interesting. There was some cute romance between Gregg's character and Amanda Peet's, Allison Janney was as great as she ever is, and Sam Rockwell was Sam Rockwell -- except much meaner -- which is to say, he was pretty awesome, even though his part was way too small for my taste. And Clark Gregg made an involving and endearing lead. He started out rather a jerk, and seemed to be on a classic bad-to-good character arc -- for most of the movie he really was.
The girl this movie revolves around, relative newcomer to acting Saxon Sharbino, doesn't show her status as a newbie in the slightest. She never fails to impress with a very complex and widely-ranged role. Believing that she was the type to be cast in a teen film franchise and become the next Kristen Stewart, or Jennifer Lawrence or Shailene Woodley was the easiest thing to believe in this movie.
|She certainly does have a presence.|
And her performance was the only thing that connected (by the tiniest little thread) the jarring tonal change and plot twist that sent this neat little flick in the biggest downward spiral I've ever experienced in a movie. It was really quite spectacular. And after the fiery crash, I sat stunned amongst the wreckage on the couch while the credits rolled and wondered what happened. And every time I think about it I've still made no headway in discovering the reason behind that disastrous turn. I wonder if a second viewing would help my understanding of the point of this movie, but the chances that I'll ever sit through the hour-and-a-half of that weirdness again is very unlikely. Even if it does have Sam Rockwell in it!
I'd just watch The Way, Way Back again instead. And you should follow my example. Trust me.