Writer-director Nicole Holofcener uses this bittersweet comedy to tease out the eccentricities from an otherwise ordinary family. There's Jane Marks (Brenda Blethyn), the middle-aged mum who was once partial to threesomes, and her slender daughter Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer), an aspiring actress who succumbs to the casting couch after developing a complex about her 'fat' arms. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's stroppy sister, wannabe artist Michelle (Catherine Keener), sets out to please her husband by taking a McJob at a one-hour photo shop...
This is a movie of performances. Indie queen Keener bags plenty of laughs as a 36-year-old teenager, and Brit actresses Blethyn and Mortimer pull off convincing Yank accents while making the most of their characters. But no amount of top thesping can camouflage the holes in the free-wheeling plot. Why, for example, would self-obsessed Jane adopt an eight-year-old daughter? And how did Michelle veer from homecoming queen to arty nerd?
Not exactly lovely or amazing, then, but low-key and amusing in parts.
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