Thursday, May 18, 2017

Now on Netflix: Between Us (2017)

Between Us (2017) - Written and Directed by Rafael Palacio Illingworth; Starring Ben Feldman, Olivia Thirlby, Analeigh Tipton, Betsy Brandt, Adam Goldberg, Peter Bogdanovich.

By Kenny Howell

After Beauty and the Beast, the next tale as old as time is spouses cheating on each other, or wanting to at least.

Movies have mined that theme for years, so it's hard to really bring anything new to it. Between Us definitely has issues with that.

It tells the story of Henry (Ben Feldman) and Dianne (Olivia Thirlby). They have been together for quite some time, and are on the verge of buying an apartment and maybe getting married. But, as it happens, commitment begins to scare them, and their eyes begin to wander. Henry meets a musician played by Analeigh Tipton (Mississippi Grind) when she criticizes the lack of music in one of his films, and Dianne meets a man on a work project. The race to them cheating is on.

In addition to the tired material, Feldman (Mad Men) and Thirlby (Dredd) fail to create any sort of spark between Henry and Dianne. It is one of those situations where "cute" moments are forced, straining to create something unique, but it comes off as inauthentic. Early on, we see Henry and Dianne talking about how they are going to be husband and wife, then they start chanting "husband and wife!" over and over while dancing around the room, a scene that lasts seemingly forever, and ends with them collapsing with laughter. It lands more awkward than endearing, and sets the tone for the rest of the film.

Despite all of that, it's hard to say that Feldman and Thirlby don't do good work on their own. They are both supremely talented, actors we don't see enough of, so it is nice to see them mine these emotions. It just should have been in different material.

Between Us is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **

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