The strongest motivation any of the characters in Somebody Up There Likes Me seems to have is a hankering for bread sticks. But Lyla’s (Jess Weixler) fondness for those crunchy grissini is about as passionate as writer-director Bob Byington’s film gets. Sure, there’s sex both marital and adulterous, and even one quasi-incestuous coupling, but all the cast members are so scrupulously catatonic it’s a wonder they manage to stay awake. The film follows a young man named Max (Keith Poulson), who trundles through life with neither emotion nor aspiration. There’s a plot, which involves Max working at an upscale steakhouse, marrying Lyla, shtupping the nanny (Stephanie Hunt) and being generally listless with his best friend Sal (Parks & Recreation’s Nick Offerman), but Somebody Up There is propelled less by narrative than by unwavering torpor, which isn’t really much of a driver at all. It has a handful of compelling touches: In just 75 minutes it travels 35 years, thanks to several fast-forward leaps. But Max doesn’t age, apparently thanks to a baby-blue suitcase that releases a pretty, starry fog. Nicely staged tableaux provide visual amusement in dialogue-free scenes, and Byington’s screenplay contains some amusing bits of wordplay and chatter. “Are you good in bed?” Max asks. “I get about eight hours,” Lyla nods, gnawing on a bread stick. If only the film weren’t as tone-deaf as the sentiments its characters express.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
- Critic's Score: C+
- Watch the trailer