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Standing Still
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by Erik Childress

"The Characters Maybe - But Not The Actors"
4 stars

The stuck between stages of a young person’s life has become its own genre for filmmakers around the same age or those wanting to recount their own trepidation about growing up. It can even stretch out to a second decade as it did in Sideways. The point is that its one of those universal truths that everyone has lived through whether it be a flittering thought or a mid-twenties crisis that can be examined in the course of a 90-minute movie. Whatever the first film to tackle such trivialities might have been, there was probably still a more original film off the subject that did it in one mesmerizing speech. But that is not to fault any of the countless replicas. Many are just cyclical nonsense about slacking whiners, but Matthew Cole Weiss’ Standing Still is a worthy entry into the canon of thoughtful, funny midpoints that every generation encounters.

Once again, it’s a wedding reuniting a group of friends who have never been that far apart since their college days. Elise (Amy Adams) is the glowing bride and Michael (Adam Garcia) is the lucky man. Their pending nuptials puts some pressure on best man Rich (Aaron Stanford) to pop the question to his lady, Samantha (Melissa Sagemiller), who is expecting more than just a proposal. Their other friends include Hollywood agent, Quentin (Colin Hanks), who lives up to every nuance of the fast-talking, brash, slickster type. Plus, Pockets (Jon Abrahams) who goes by the nickname thanks to his uncanny ability to produce whatever you need from the pouches deep enough for his insecurities about Lana (Mena Suvari), the girl who cheated on him at school and will now be

Adding to the already impressive name cast are another group which add further complications and incompatibility to the weekend. Having once slept with Lana, Quentin’s client, “flavor of the month” Simon Blake (James Van Der Beek) joins the party with his “metaphysical western” director (played by RogerRules of AttractionAvary). Elise must worry about the feelings of sullen ex-roommate, Jennifer (the stunning Lauren German, last seen as the first victim of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.) Groom Michael has his own resurfaced issues when his estranged dad (Xander Berkeley, very good in his brief scenes) shows up in hopes to reconcile their damaged past. And if Lana doesn’t have enough to pack away with Pockets, Simon and a new potential interest at the house, along comes a “Power Time” child motivator (Ethan Embry) so brimming with positive energy that he interprets a passing comment as an invitation to be her date.

It’s a lot to tie-up in only 85 minutes and the screenplay by Matthew Perniciaro and Timm Sharp stretches to set-up and resolve its lingering issues without dealing much with them inb the middle. It leaves many of them unsatisfied dramatically and misses the meat that could have set the film apart from the majority of mid-mid-life crises films. One particular time-padder involves Quentin’s encounter with Elise’s sister (Marne Patterson) which gets more out-of-place the more time that’s devoted to it. With the expediency they come together, the only assumptions in the real world is that she’s either extraordinarily loose and easy or she recognized him as actually being Tom Hanks’ son.

But all its weaknesses are turned into strengths by the likability and comic timing of the cast, particularly by Hanks who sinks his teeth into the kind of breakout role which reminds us of his dad’s early work while remaining its own beast. Van Der Beek also gets good laughs playing against type and probably relished the opportunity having helped get the film off the ground. Director Matthew Cole Weiss keeps the film moving, losing a bit of the drama, but not the comedy and he never leaves any of his actors behind, editing between them fortuitously enough to compliment their performances if not their dramatic arc. I would have liked to have known more about German’s Jennifer who makes such an impression in the first half that it’s a shame her focus is downplayed in the latter, but there’s enough good humor to mask the pain and sometimes that’s as telling a statement as you can make about young people making the transition to young adults.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12290&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/27/06 15:45:32
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/06/05 John C Very funny and easy to relate to. Entertaining. 5 stars
6/28/05 brian this is a very fun moive that makes you laugh and has a nice story to it. 5 stars
5/26/05 thomas wicker Loved it! 5 stars
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  21-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jun-2007



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