Capsule reviews for Oct. 4


The title of this dysfunctional family comedy stands for Adult Child of Divorce, which describes Carter (Adam Scott), who is forced to play peacemaker between his bickering parents (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) when his younger brother (Clark Duke) announces impulsively he will get married. The result is more stressful than cathartic for all involved. Rookie director Stuart Zicherman, who also co-wrote the semiautobiographical script, is more concerned with zippy one-liners than providing much insight into fractured family dynamics. But at least the uneven film is consistently amusing, elevated by charismatic performances from an ensemble cast that includes Amy Poehler, Jessica Alba and Jane Lynch. (Rated R, 87 minutes).


All Is Bright

The title is deceiving in this sappy and cynical Canadian comedy about Dennis (Paul Giamatti), a paroled thief who wants to go straight in order to reunite with his estranged wife and small daughter. So in order to buy her a gift, he joins an old buddy (Paul Rudd) in selling cheap Christmas trees on the streets of New York. There are some amusing offbeat moments in the latest film from director Phil Morrison (Junebug), yet the first-rate cast (including Sally Hawkins as a Russian house-sitter) deserves better than these unsympathetic characters who lack both charm and common sense. It’s certainly missing some holiday cheer. (Rated R, 106 minutes).


Bad Milo

There’s a certain gleeful audacity to this twisted horror comedy about Duncan (Ken Marino), an office worker who is stressed out for numerous reasons, which leads to intestinal problems later revealed to be caused by an alien living in his rectum that emerges to torture Duncan’s enemies. Yes, it’s every bit as disgusting as it sounds, featuring the type campy low-brow humor that could eventually grant it midnight cult status. The alien is more amusing than it has any right to be, yet the concept runs out of gas well before the end despite the best efforts of Marino and an eclectic supporting cast. (Rated R, 84 minutes).



Some fine character-driven moments help to compensate for an abundance of far-fetched twists in this story of a middle-aged lesbian mother (Robin Weigert) who after a head injury decides to ditch her mundane family life in favor of exploring her wild side as an escort, where she meets a variety of women that cause her to reassess her own attitude about sex and relationships. The film marks a promising debut for writer-director Stacie Passon, who demonstrates some unique visual flair while examining some universal insecurities in a way that’s both humorous and heartfelt. Weigert’s performance resonates with authenticity, even if the plot mechanics become frustrating. (Rated R, 96 minutes).


Pulling Strings

Subtlety and surprise are thrown out the window in this far-fetched Mexican romantic comedy about Alejandro (Jaime Camil), a mariachi singer who conspires to charm Rachel (Laura Ramsey), an American diplomat, into switching her earlier rejection of a visa for his young daughter. Meanwhile, Rachel prepares to leave for a job in London, but a mishap involving a valuable laptop brings her and Alejandro together under desperate circumstances. The gags are broad and predictable, and it drags on too long. At least Latino television star Camil has some charisma, and the film showcases a brighter side of Mexico City than is usually seen on film. (Rated PG, 112 minutes).