People Like Us

I had seen the trailer for People Like Us a while back and it looked interesting, so when the chance arose to see it at a screening, I was excited to see the movie. The film lived up to my expectations, for the most part, although it would benefit from a shorter runtime; it clocks in at about one hour and fifty-five minutes.

Sam (Chris Pine, This Means War) lives in NYC, on the other side of the country from his mom (Michelle Pfeiffer, Dark Shadows) and dad. When his father passes away, however, he and his girlfriend (Olivia Wilde, In Time) fly to L.A., arriving late and missing the funeral. Sam's father was a music producer, and Sam remembers him as being distant and never spending much time with him, which is why Sam has only returned to L.A. a handful of times over the years. When his dad's lawyer meets with Sam regarding the will, Sam finds out something rather startling: his father has left $150,000 in cash in an old shaving kit, with a note instructing Sam to make sure that someone named Josh received the money. Sam goes to the address listed in the note and finds Frankie (Elizabeth Banks, What to Expect When You're Expecting) and her son, Josh, and soon learns that Frankie is his half-sister. He starts to get close to them without telling them the whole story, and he finds that he has more in common with them than he originally thought he would.

Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine, and Michelle Pfeiffer are very good in this movie, as is the precocious Michael Hall D'Addario, who plays Josh. Frankie had almost the same experience growing up with her dad as Sam did, and her dad disappeared from her life altogether when she was eight years old, which we later find out was because of a choice that Lillian made him make. What originally was a one day trip to L.A. turns into a few weeks as Sam tries to get to know Frankie and Josh, but he is reluctant to let them know his true identity since Frankie hated her father, and his "other family," so much.

Yes, see this movie. Although parts of it were predictable, the performances and the script make it an interesting film, and Pine and Banks are at their best here. Banks is completely believable as a busy working mom who often has to leave her child home by himself, and Pine as well as a man who has never really had any close familial relationships throughout his life. The film reminded me a lot of the movie Bounce, in that one of the main characters gets close to another character while harboring a secret about them, and the ending played out similarly as well. People Like Us should do well at the box office solely based on its "star power," but it was refreshing to see a movie that contained a multi-layered story too.

People Like Us is in theaters today, June 29th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of approximately 115 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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