Amy (Melanie Lynskey whose performance, I’ll just say this right off the bat, is really the only reason to see this film) is a recently divorced thirty-something who has been camping out at her wealthy parents’ house for the past three months, unable to venture outside due to the memories of her big shot celebrity lawyer ex-husband who jilted her (these obviously aren’t our types of people). Her current state of somber aimlessness is fueled by both the success of her siblings and her disappointed mother who encourages her to move on by dating wealthy local singles. Amy slowly returns to society in a series of comedic mishaps that illustrate how divorce leads to social retardation (there’s a scene in a clothing store that is particularly inexplicable). The rest of the film plays out as if it was written as a final project in an advanced screenwriting mechanics course: everything is perfectly symmetrical and straight out of a text book. Her parents are courting a potentially lucrative new client; the client has a child, 19-year-old Jeremy. He shares a lot with Amy: comparably successful siblings, general mopiness, parents who just don’t understand. They make out before the end of their first dinner together and are soon dating each in secret as Amy doesn’t want the inappropriateness of their age difference to effect her father’s business dealings. Jeremy is a strange character devoid of humor and warmth; his problem is that he doesn’t want to be an actor anymore even though everyone expects him to follow his career path. The couple take turns playing the sage as they blatantly help to improve each other’s beings, but on the bright side their process of learning about each other feels organic and real. Amy learns what it’s like to feel loved and remembers what it’s like to feel young, which eventually enables her to both grow up and move on. Her rather cliched journey has a somewhat lyrical open end, but the whole thing is so structurally by-the-book that you’d think it came out of the Sundance Institute…oh look, it did.
C’mon, Oscilloscope! You’re still one of my favorites, but after this and Brooklyn Brothers you’ve got a lot to make up for…actually I take that back, you’ve already accomplished so much that no one really has a right to complain. Forget I said anything.
Hello I Must Be Going opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.