Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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NY1 Movie Review: 'About Alex'

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A new film tries to update the 1983 classic "The Bill Chill," as old college friends reunite, sparks fly and old wounds are opened. It's called "About Alex." NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.

I'm Neil Rosen. A group of familiar television actors team up in a new film that tries to update the classic formula of "The Big Chill." It's called called "About Alex."

When Alex, played by Jason Ritter, tries unsuccessfully to kill himself, several of his close college friends reunite for a long weekend to lend him their support.

Over the course of a few days, as this bunch indulges in good food, drink and drugs, old jealous feelings, resentments and romantic rivalries are reignited, pushing the limits of everyone's long standing friendships. The college pals include Nate Parker, Maggie Grace, Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield and Max Minghella. Director Jesse Zwick makes no secret about trying to emulate "The Big Chill," as he makes obvious references to that film throughout.

Zwick even goes as far as to invoke Jeff Goldblum's name at one point, who was one of the stars of that film. But I think Zwick is also trying to emulate the TV series "Thirtysomething," which his dad, Ed Zwick, created, but unlike that program, or "The Big Chill," you won't really care about what's happening on screen here.

The humor, for the most part, is lacking and you'll have very little fondness for any of these characters or the individual, personal crisis that each of them is dealing dealing with. The one exception is Greenfield, who is quite funny as a cranky, cynical, bitter guy who's always spewing fun cultural references. I would have preferred to see a whole movie just built around him.

Most of the characters are superficial and underdeveloped, while the film itself is filled with predictable scenarios. Strong performances by the cast elevate the material, but it's simply not enough.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 1.5 Apples

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