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Directed by Don Roos. Rated 14A. Opens Friday, August 5, at the Park. Don Roos came out of the gate strongly in the s, first with his memorably offbeat scripts for Love Field and Boys on the Side, and then, in , with his directorial debut, The Opposite of Sex. But the terminally clever writer-director has struggled since then to find a form the right size to contain his mix of verbal edge and compassion for laugh-worthy human frailty.
Bounce wasn't it. But maybe Gwynfleck wasn't right for anything. But something about it doesn't quite jell. Roos starts well, by anchoring things with Lisa Kudrow, who similarly got to display what she could do away from TV in Opposite.
Here, she plays Mamie, a deeply ambivalent read sour-faced pregnancy counsellor who gave up her own child when she was a teen. The kid was conceived with her stepbrother, who later morphed into a gay restaurateur, called Charley and played by British actor Steve Coogan 24 Hour Party People , who hasn't lost his accent, or his expert comic timing. Currently, he's more obsessed with the notion that a lesbian couple Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke has used sperm-bank semen from his partner David Sutcliffe to sire a child without telling them.
Charley eventually gets pulled back into Mamie's world when she is blackmailed if that's the word by a would-be filmmaker Jesse Bradford who knows where his son ended up and wants to make an involuntary documentary about their reunion. Instead, this bearded young neurotic settles for a short based on the travails of Mamie's illegal-immigrant boyfriend Bobby Cannavale , a massage therapist who specializes in giving women the happy ending of the title.
Roos inserts title cards on the introduction of new characters, and these are supposed to be ironic, or helpful, or something. For instance, when we meet a cool-hearted gold-digger played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, the text says, "Don't worry if you don't like her". Well, we're not worried, exactly, but it is pretty hard to warm to a gal who sleeps with a semi-closeted, and notably untalented, rock drummer Jason Ritter, son of John as a way to meet his lonely, but exceedingly rich, dad Tom Arnold.