Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hello I Must Be Going (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
Hello I Must Be Going

All is anemic in mumblecore city. "Hello I Must Be Going" is the story of  a late 30ish divorcee, Amy (Melanie Lynskey) whose emotions are in retrograde. Amy turns her attractive aura into mush and moves back with her parents. Her Mom (Blythe Danner) is frantic, harried and self-absorbed. Her dad (John Rubinstein) is spacey and distant. Amy is on Prozac or Zoloft or something. 
Lynskey is enjoyable, it's just that there is not much for her (or anyone ) to do. Her 'Amy' could be right out of Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg". When she tries on a new shirt in an upscale store she spastically flairs about while trying to be cool. She emerges covered in sweat. It is a very funny scene and  Lynskey has an entertaining, tilted charm that disarms. Like Larry David or Ben Stiller, (her male parallels) you are not quite sure just what she might say and that's fun. But one scene does not quite make a film.
The rest of  "Hello I Must Be Going" seems  on autopilot with a lot of soul searching mumbles and ho-hum hysteria. Okay. Mom is catty and just plain mean, while Amy's Dad is passive but supports Amy behind closed doors. Dad speaks invariably in whispers: "Remember when we used to stay up nights to watch The Marx Brothers?" He asks his lethargic daughter, but nothing intriguing follows in response.
Amy gets a shot in the arm though, by a chance kiss by the buoyant and irrepressible teenaged actor Jeremy, played very well by Christopher Abbott who bears a striking physical resemblance to a young Sal Mineo. This situation turns Amy into a bit of a kid as Jeremy is 19 and Lynskey has some good dialogue, but then there is a big clump of formulaic back and forth with Manic Mom.  The spontaneity of the relationship transforms into whiny whimpering, as in "Oh God, we can't tell our parents"!
Maybe I'm missing something (and I know Amy doesn't wanna "mess things up" ) but in a real situation, I don't think Amy would care. After all, In "A Late Quartet" , Daniel didn't bat an eyelash in going after the nymphet Alexandra.
Oh well.  Amy at least utters expletives in a host of humorous ways. Such shouts would make Lenny Bruce proud.
Needless to say, Amy constantly second guesses herself and goes on a tear, getting drunk and throwing up twice in one film.  Is Jeremy gay? Who cares. It's all too "Bridget Jones's Diary" Amy eventually lets it all out with Mom entering the house and knocking over the beloved glass sculpture.
Good Grief. 
There are some nice touches in the "date scenes". One in a meeting with Amy's narcissistic ex (Dan Futterman) where Amy lets him have it. And also in the outing with Phil (Jimmi Simpson) the pale icthyophiliac who actually looks like a fish. 
If only "Hello I Must Be Going" wasn't bogged down with such suburban Sturm und Drang which makes for some trite topiary.  Melanie Lynskey gives the film a nice edge, but in such a conventional story the geyser of her refreshing deadpan delirium is stopped up with nowhere to spring.

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