Are You Here? reportedly opens in theaters and OnDemand August 22nd, aka this Friday, which seems awful soon for a movie I haven’t seen advertised anywhere. Especially one that stars Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, and Zach Galifianakis, and was directed by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. Pretty good pedigree there, you have to figure it must be pretty bad for the studio to be this quiet about it.
When Steve Dallas (Owen Wilson), a womanizing local weatherman, hears that his off-the-grid best friend Ben Baker (Zach Galifianakis) has lost his estranged father, the two return to Ben’s childhood home to discover Ben has inherited the family fortune leaving the ill-equipped duo to battle Ben’s formidable sister (Amy Poehler) and deal with his father’s gorgeous 25-year-old widow (Laura Ramsey).
Featuring complex performances from iconic comedic actors Wilson, Galifianakis and Poehler, ARE YOU HERE is an unexpected story about family, friendship, and the people who keep us afloat while facing the compromises of life.
I hope naming him “Steve Dallas” sets up a backstory about him being Corben‘s brother. Curiously, the trailer doesn’t look that bad. But the reviews seem to suggest so:
“This sorry misfire will provide enjoyment only for rival television creatives invidiously rooting for Matthew Weiner to stumble.” -David Rooney, HollywoodReporter
“In Mad Men mastermind Matthew Weiner’s big-screen directorial debut, the aggressively unfunny Are You Here, all of the dark humor and delicate character shadings we’re used to seeing on his TV series are conspicuously absent.” -Chris Nashawaty, EntertainmentWeekly
“You Are Here is a shockingly inept comedy, a project with the look and style of a mid-’90s Ivan Reitman or Harold Ramis comedy, not the first film from one of our finest TV writers.” -Christopher Schobert, ThePlaylist
“You Are Here, unfortunately, never quite convinces that it’s a proper film.” -Chris Michael, The Guardian
“Filmmaker Matthew Weiner, making his debut here, establishes an atmosphere of middling mediocrity right from the get-go…” -David Nusair, ReelFilmReviews
My, I hope David Rooney didn’t throw out his back stretching for a phrase like “invidiously rooting” (much funnier if you read “rooting” with the Australian meaning, by the way). Being a working critic is tough these days, I guess you have to prove to your editors how hard you’re working with some tortured-sounding prose.
UPDATE: Oops, okay, Are You Here? actually received its first positive review before I finished this post, which sort of ruins the premise of the entire thing. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I waste all this incredible copy/pasting I’ve already done. Anyway, I don’t know if this means the tide is turning and that Are You Here? will eventually come to be appreciated as a classic of its time, but at the very least it has avoided the dreaded Bucky Larsoning.