Meet Bill Reviews
Husband-and-wife helmers Melisa Wallack and Bernie Goldmann make all the wrong choices, from the grimacing they've encouraged their large (and largely wasted) cast to indulge in, to the musical riffs that signal each and every dramatic beat.
The story of a man (Aaron Eckhart) grappling with middle-age ennui at work and at home feels done to death, as does the distracting addition of a spunky rich-kid high schooler.
It doesn't take long for Bill to suddenly veer off course into total impenetrability, where the characters become a blur, the hacky visual poetry is rolled out, and the plot drops dead.
It tries hard to mimic the arch tone of the best suburban tragicomedies (American Beauty, et al.), but a surfeit of stock characters, double-wide plot holes and heavy-handed symbolism ruins the effect.
For those whose idea of hilarity is an adult and a kid throwing fireworks at each other, then getting stoned and playing piggyback in the mall, this movie should be a refreshing tonic.
Takes scattershot aim at all manner of appropriate targets-the vapid nature of local television news, the perceived stigma of standing out from the pack in America, the dilemma of dreams deferred and abandoned-but rarely hits the comic bull's-eye.