Posted by Valentina Valentini on March 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm
Hats off to Neil LaBute for giving us a truly layered story that doesn’t always leave you with answers, but doesn’t leave you hanging either.
In his meatiest role to date, which he handles with aplomb, Adam Brody is Man – an early 30-something traveling around the country to make amends with his exes before getting married. At first you think it might be a cute romcom, with beats where you’re supposed to laugh at and moments you’re supposed to passively enjoy. But LaBute would never give us that. And neither would director Daisy von Scherler Mayer Daisy von Scherler Mayer (Party Girl) let that happen.
“I had every intention of sticking to the script,” said von Scherler Mayer at the Q&A after the premiere on Saturday. “Every woman I know that has seen the film has dated this guy, knows this guy, I’ve dated this guy. He’s so relatable and I’m glad someone could bring that specific pain to light. It just happened to be a man that did it.”
Man’s lines straddle pathetic to selfish, with a rare sincerity that leaves you rooting for him in the beginning, and wanting to expose him toward the end. It really is a testament that the female perspective is captured as accurately as it was, being written by a man. I’m not saying that’s impossible to do, it’s just rare.
The most interesting and strongest performances of the exes (played by Jennifer Morrison, Kristin Bell, Zoe Kazan, Emily Watson and Mia Maestro) come from Kazan, Bell and Watson. But I think the real challenge was keeping us all interested when 90 percent of the film takes place in hotel rooms. Producers Patty West, Chris Schwartz and Andrew Carlberg never did want to open it up, take the play it was adapted from outside the confines of the rooms. Perhaps they had faith (and rightfully so) in DP Rachel Morrison’s diligence at always finding the most visually varied way to shoot a hotel room, and in the actors’ stellar performances. And lucky for us, they succeeded with all of it.