While Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Dax Shepard and crew are dealing with their own family dysfunction and trying not to stare at Jane Fonda’s chest in Shawn Levy’s This is Where I Leave You, the three comedians who didn’t get to join in the festivities have joined forces for a familial drama of their own. Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler are taking bitter sibling politics to a whole new place, guided by the man who kind of knows how to do messed up families better than most – Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
The first trailer for Are You Here (formerly titled You Are Here) is supposedly for a comedy, but doesn’t offer up as many laughs so much as it thrusts its comedians in a terrible, bleak reality.
We meet Ben Baker (Galifianakis) as he desperately attempts to break past security and bust into a local news studio; it’s where his friend, local sleazy weatherman Steve Dallas (Wilson) works, and he’s in need of someone to share his sorrow with when he finds out his father has died. The duo takes a trip to the funeral, where they meet up with Baker’s uptight sister (Poehler) – who has really perfected her suburban princess ice stare. Of course, at the reading of their father’s will, the siblings find out that dearly departed dad left his entire estate to Ben, the family screw-up; the rest of the film will see Ben duke it out in court with his sis while leaning on Steve for support.
It would be a great premise if the This is Where I Leave You trailer hadn’t just dropped and was actually full of worthwhile jokes, while this looks like it’s going to be something that makes us cry while we contemplate Galifianakis’ sanity and our own mortality. Also, why is Amy Poehler so mean? She’s supposed to be our best friend, in our heads and hearts. Obviously, even a mean Poehler is a welcomed Poehler; her haughty side hasn’t gotten this good of a workout since her time as a perfection-obsessed counselor in Wet Hot American Summer. Do you think she tells people to leave their bullshit attitude baggage at the door?
The premise of this film apparently, according to the tagline and Steve Dallas, is that friends are our real family, especially when the flesh and blood line kind of sucks. Steve is going to take care of Ben, even if Ben’s sister won’t come through for her brother when he’s going through some instability. Friendship – there’s nothing in it for anybody. Except love and the safety of Owen Wilson’s arms.
Are You Here hits theaters on August 22nd.