He gave us BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN back in 2009, and as many directorial debuts can be, the result was uneven and lacking in authority. Now, John Krasinski has helmed another film, and while THE HOLLARS is endearing, it doesn't show a lot of growth in direction.
John Hollar (Krasinski) has an eccentric family. His father, Don (Richard Jenkins) cries at the drop of a hat; his brother, Ron (Sharlto Copley) is in his 30s and has the responsibility of a child; and his mother, Sally (Margo Martindale)... Well, Sally just found out she has a brain tumor.
John travels back to his childhood home, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick), to be with his family. But when he arrives, he is bombarded by the mess that his family has created around them. Ron has divorced his wife (Ashley Dyke) and is slowly being driven crazy by her new Reverend boyfriend (Josh Groban), and Don can't keep the family business from sliding into bankruptcy. Sally's nurse (Charlie Day) is now married to John's ex-girlfriend, making things a little awkward for John, who is already feeling anxiety about his and Rebecca's relationship.
The characters in the story are brilliant, and transparent to a fault. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of comedy for the sake of comedy in THE HOLLARS. The plot seems to be staged around gimmicks, and the more poignant moments of the film are sometimes a little bit clumsily juxtaposed with the latter.
But there are nuggets dispersed throughout the film that make up for the uneven pacing and cartoonish humor. The story may have its flaws, but the characters are still relatable. For a fun watch to bide the time until Oscar contenders start cropping up, check THE HOLLARS out at Midtown Cinema!