Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Touchy Feely (2013)

Director: Lynn Shelton

Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais

More info: IMDb

Plot:  What happens when a family’s delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels? Abby is a free-spirited massage therapist. Her brother, Paul, an emotional zombie, owns a flagging dental practice, where he enlists the assistance of his equally emotionally stunted daughter, Jenny. Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which seriously hinders her chosen profession and the passionate love life she once shared with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice. As Abby navigates through an identity crisis, her brother discovers a whole new side of himself.

My rating? 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Nah.

Early on I felt like I wasn’t going to dig this.  The characters didn’t seem like people I was going to identify with or even care about.  By the end of the ride, though, I was thoroughly engaged in Jenny (Page).  She has a moment of venerability where she’s trying to confess her feelings to someone that felt so real I was almost in tears.  Wow, she's good.  Like everything I’m seeing here at the Sundance Film Festival the performances are all very good.

Paul (Pais) gets a lot of laughs and justifiably so.  I’d swear he’s channeling Toby from the U.S. version of THE OFFICE.  Tomo Nakayama (as Henry) performs an acoustic song in the final act that’s absolutely beautiful.  What a voice this kid has!

Paul and Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) go through ‘touch’ experiences where they lose or gain their mojo.  How do they ultimately deal with the loss in an effort to regain it?  Experiment with their first hit of ecstasy.  At the end of their trip they’ve experienced a rebirth, as it were, and all is right in the jungle at the end of the film.  The moral of the story is take drugs to get your ass out of a funk.  Stella should have done that to get her groove back.  That might sound like a simplified or light-hearted way of looking at it but that’s exactly what happened.  The film wraps up a little too neatly, quickly and simultaneously for my taste but then this is a light and gentle comedy and, in the end, an enjoyable one at that.

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