Who's missed their friends? Hands up for most everyone, yes? Now that most of us are vaccinated and we can begin to spend time with the people we love, there's so much to catch up on. Most importantly, we want to make sure our friends are wel l —not just physically, but mentally. We've missed out on so much while being socially distant. Now we need to bridge that distance.
Hollywood is hoping to bring friends together at movie theaters. Yes, there are action films and lots of scary movies, but two films I've seen at a theater and one that I paid to stream have all honored the bonds of friendship. Not in the fake Hollywood trope of friends who discover they really love each other and now they're going to be a couple. No, these are stories of true platonic friendship.
“Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar” is the lightest of the three. The two friends, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, wrote the screenplay and cast their friends in this buddy film that plays like an over-long “SNL” sketch. There are moments of glee in the sheer absurdity, with the best bits being the conversations between the two comedians. As with so many star vehicles, there seemed to be no director on set to gather the kids from the sandbox and focus them on building the sand castle. Jettison the entire campy villain plot and focus on the women and their journey of self-discovery and that would've been enough. Drinks with Films rating: 2 umbrella drinks out of 5.
"Together Together" dares question if a nerdy guy can navigate single parenthood while trying to have a platonic relationship with the younger woman he's hired to be his surrogate. Ed Helms is perfect as the socially awkward man who's desperate to be a dad. Patti Harrison plays the surrogate with wisdom and deadpan humor. She leads the way to establishing boundaries to help this hapless man embrace his new life. I was left with a bittersweet feeling knowing that once the baby has arrived, their dynamic will change and the relationship might not survive. Drinks with Films rating: 4 bottles of formula out of 5.
"Here Today" takes it's time to establish an unusual relationship that began as a true story. Billy Crystal wrote the screenplay with Alan Zweibel. Crystal directed and stars in this charming tale. I think people will see the film for the pairing of a comedy legend with the up-and-coming comedy talent that's the spitfire Tiffany Haddish. They're delightful together. There are some slow moments, particularly during the filming of the comedy show (clearly based on “SNL”) and a side story about nurturing comedy talent. The cast is so warm and committed to these characters that I found I was shushing my critical voice. Louisa Krause is charming and sexy as the beloved wife. Her lingering presence makes the anger and distrust that has broken this family believable and the struggle to heal all the more urgent. A lovely tribute to the best quality of humanity, selfless love. Drinks with Films rating: 5 glasses of a health elixir out of 5.
So grab a friend, head to an open cinema, and then go have a margarita outdoors and celebrate your own friendship. You deserve it.