Saturday, May 9, 2015

Just Before I Go: Movie Review

Multiple storylines confuse the tone between comedy and drama.

Just Before I Go stars Seann William Scott as Ted Morgan, a guy who's done nothing but the middle-of-the-road approach to life and is now paying for it after his wife left him and has nothing to live for, so he's going to kill himself. It's a movie that tries to walk that line between comedy and drama but ends up failing because it's not really either. 2014

Directed by: Courteney Cox

Screenplay by: David Flebotte

Starring: Seann William Scott

Teddy has a few things on his almost-bucket list to take care of first. Including confronting his grade school teacher who treated him terribly despite the fact that he was a good student, confronting the bully who picked on him, and thanking the one girl who treated him kindly. Teddy moves back home with his brother and his family where he can conveniently find all these former acquaintances still living in the small town.

There are a few decent lines of comedy early on as we meet this teacher who is the exact opposite of most movie teachers. This storyline also introduces Olivia Thirlby as Greta, the teacher's grand-daughter who forms a friendship with Teddy even though he's already told her that he's going to kill himself. Her role is entirely one of convenience – an easy way to show Teddy what he still has to live for. Next on his bucket list is Rob Riggle as the former bully who's now recanting his old ways but just doesn't provide the comedy that he's intended do. His requests are just weird, and doesn't match with either the comedy or drama that the film is going for.

I was looking forward to Seann William Scott in a more dramatic role, but he really didn't bring anything to the character of Teddy. Teddy didn't have any prominent characteristics, he wasn't particularly sad or tragic and just wasn't interesting enough to keep the audience invested in the movie.

On the other hand, the supporting characters including Mackenzie Marsh as childhood friend Vicki was fantastic, as well as Kyle Gallner as troubled nephew Zeke. Gallner is always great at portraying the damaged aspects of teenagers, but why, at age 29, he's still playing a high school student is beyond me.

While there are some good storylines at play in Just Before I Go - the aforementioned teacher, Marsh's Vicki and Gallner's Zeke – there are just too many with differing tones, and we don't get either a comedy, drama nor a dramedy. There is also an over-sexualized tone to the film with Teddy's sister-in-law masturbating in front of him which is neither sexy nor funny, and just further confuses what the whole point of anything is.

Similar Titles:

Lullaby (2014) - Thoughtful questions and ideas give way to a simple family drama.

The Skeleton Twins (2014) - Establishing selfishness before their more interesting layers, the despondent skeleton twins are more lifeless than they should be.