Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dinner with Friends: Movie Review (AKA Friendsgiving)

Too many unfunny characters spoil the Thanksgiving dinner.
I would like to start with the utter confusion around its release. A Thanksgiving-themed dramedy that was released in the United States as Friendsgiving in October, more than a full month before US Thanksgiving. Then was released in Canada in November, a month after Canadian Thanksgiving and renamed to Dinner with Friends, so it missed out on all the earlier advertising and the actual holiday. That’s a sign that the distributors don’t have faith in the movie.   2020

Directed by: Nicol Paone

Screenplay by: Nicol Paone

Starring: Malin Ackerman, Kat Dennings

For a comedy, there’s a distinct lack of comedy. Despite some awful attempts at humour, the lead actresses give their characters a solid emotional core, allowing the future action to come from a place of reality and genuine emotion. The movie then surrounded the lead actresses with bizarre characters and actors who had even worse attempts at humour.

Molly (Malin Akerman) is a newly single mother, a semi-famous Hollywood actress, the daughter of a famous former Hollywood actress, and freshly divorced. She’s struggling to keep things together and the audience gets it. Her best friend is Abby (Kat Dennings) a persistently single lesbian who replays decades old heartbreak and who calls herself broken instead of single. Her struggles may not be as obvious as Molly’s, but I get her too. In Dennings’ usual sarcastic style, Abby typically has the more humorous lines.

Thanksgiving was just going to be the two of them, so I cannot explain to you why Abby bought such a large turkey that fed a houseful of unexpected guests. Some guests have great potential while others are awful from the start.

The first invitee is Molly’s new fling. He’s hot, frequently naked, and has a delicious British accent. Abby’s heartbroken that she’s suddenly the third wheel, but it gets way worse quickly. Very suddenly and mostly unexplained there are now almost a dozen people, but only two worth identifying (the others are not funny and not interesting).

Jane Seymour shows up as Helen, Molly’s mother and famous aging actress now living in Europe who is too busy to care that her daughter just had a baby and is going through a divorce, and surprise, she shows up with Molly’s ex-boyfriend, Gunnar (Ryan Hansen), in tow. There is some cringe-worthy flirting going on between Helen and her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, but luckily Gunnar has a bit more sense and finally puts an end to it, but it still goes on much longer than it should have.

Molly’s fling Jeff (Jack Donnelly) mysteriously explains that he doesn’t really work in finance he actually has a couple of charities that when people donate to them, they float him money. Now that has the potential to be interesting, and it got dropped completely. Although he should probably just get his own movie.

The movie doesn’t seem to realize which elements work and which don’t and just throws in everything. There are so many unfunny characters that waste our time, that the resolution to Molly’s and Abby’s problems just aren’t interesting any more.