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January 3, 2013

'People Like Us' is worth watching


To understand why I was intrigued by this plot line you must remember I was on a six-hour flight and thought a half-decent film might be a nice break from reading and crossword puzzles. Chatting with your neighbor is out these days because they’re either sleeping or playing games on their smartphone.

Considering my options, how one reacts to discovering he has a 30-year-old sister suddenly provided some fascination on a long flight.

There are four main characters in the film, three adults and one kid. The kid was a newbie but the adults looked familiar. One I eventually recognized as an older Michelle Pfeiffer but the other two I later had to look up on Wikipedia. The guy returning for the funeral is Chris Pine, the young Jim Kirk in the latest Star Trek films, and his mom is played by the still gorgeous Pfeiffer. You discover very quickly how dysfunctional the family is when Pfeiffer greets Pine by slapping his face. No wonder Pine’s character doesn’t want to be there.

When Pine discovers he has a half-sister (played by Elizabeth Banks) due to an affair his estranged father had he thinks even worse of him. He tells his girlfriend that the only “good” memory of his dad is his taking him to the playground as a kid, but even then his father would retreat to his car to work on his professional music writings. Pine has absolutely no use for him.

When Pine finds out he has a sister, who has no idea she has a brother, he seeks her out without telling her that he’s her brother. It turns out she has a dysfunctional life and is raising a dysfunctional son as a single, dysfunctional mom. By this time I’m beginning to wonder if the film is becoming too dysfunctional for my tastes.

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