Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: "At Home By Myself...With You"

When I have insomnia I like to watch television.  Short episodes so that I can kid myself that I'll go to bed, "after this next one."  Which of course, never happens.  Netflix has been a boon for me on this as they have so much crap in their archives that there's never a shortage of things to watch and when you're desperate at two in the morning, it's just the thing.  As a result of all these I've had the opportunity to watch a few things that I would never normally have checked out and been pleasantly surprised.

Last night's offering was the film At Home By Myself...With You starring former hockey wife (CBC's M.V.P.) and Young People F***ing alum Kristen Booth as an agoraphobic travel agent who's fears prevent her from having any life experiences.  When Romy (Booth) loses her neighbour and confident Bess, Bess's great nephew temporarily moves into her apartment and so starts the courtship of the girl who can't leave her home. This was an official selection at the Vancouver film festival and I can see why it was chosen, it's light and cute and has a few of the elements that have made some of the more popular romantic comedies successful.  But what it does well is also in some cases what takes away from the overall experience.

For a woman who's entire adult life has been plagued by phobias and fear that those around her will simply drop dead if she leaves the house, the film is remarkably lighthearted and while Kristen Booth plays Romy's fears for everything they're worth, it doesn't amount to much emotional impact.  While the premise is promising I think the film's tone wasn't quite right; it needed to go to the dark places a little bit more than it did.  Films like 2004's Siblings or British offerings such as 2007's Death At The Funeral take very dark subject matter, pitch the emotional weight into the absurd and proceed to deal with everything head on and with gusto.  For me, I think that turning the whole thing into a farce would have made it much more enjoyable, though a tempered and thoughtful approach would have worked too.  Ultimately the film ended up suffering from the ailments of an indie comedy while trying to appeal to a commercial audience.

If you're looking for something silly and easy to watch then this is definitely something you'll enjoy but if you are looking for something with any emotional weight, this is not that film.

My rating: 2.5 out of 4

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