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Reviews for May 8th, 2015

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Directed by Felix Herngren


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Music Box Films.
Opens at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

1001 Grams

Directed by Bent Hamer


Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Released by Kino Lorber.
Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.


Directed by Daniel Duran


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by eOne Entertainment.
Opens at AMC Empire.

The D Train

Directed by Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by IFC Films.
Opens nationwide.

Hot Pursuit

Directed by Anne Fletcher


Number of times I checked my watch: 7
Released by Warner Bros.
Opens nationwide.


Directed by Gianni Amelio


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Emerging Pictures.
Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.


Directed by Stephen Bradley


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Aspiration Media.
Opens in select theaters.

The Ocean of Helena Lee

Directed by Jim Akin


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Opens at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywod, CA.


Directed by Jacob Tierney

      Ruth (Sonja Bennett), a single woman in her 30s, works as a clerk at a supermarket and still lives with her father, Walter (James Caan), who desperately wants a grandchild. Hillary (Lisa Durupt), her sister, expects to have a baby for real, though. Ruth seizes the opportunity to make her father happy and to feel more welcome around friends, Deb (Carrie Ruscheinsky) and Cherry (Denise Jones), by pretending to be pregnant. When Danny (Paul Campbell), her boss at the supermarket, is about to fire her, her friends just so happen to show up and congratulate her for being pregnant thereby saving her from getting fired. The only one who knows Ruth's secret, apparently, is the janitor, Pedro (Danny Trejo), who gives her an ultimatum: either protect him from getting fired or suffer the consequences of him exposing her secret.

      Maintaining a fine balance of comedy and drama is no easy task for any film. The screenplay by Sonja Bennett doesn't always find that right balance, but at the same time, it deserves praise for avoiding schmaltz or over-the-top (or Apatowian) humor. The Farrely Brothers or Judd Apatow would've probably upped the gross-out comedy factor, so it's refreshing to see a film with a funny premise that refrains from cater to the lowest common denominator more often than not. It also boasts a complex female lead role which is rare in cinemas nowadays.

      Ruth is the kind of character who's not easy to like and clearly has some unresolved mental issues (especially when it comes to the fact that she feels the need to lie), but it's those flaws and insecurities that make her more human and, to a certain degree, relatable. One could question whether or not her friends are truly friends when they ostracize her initially for not allowing her to participate in their conversations anymore because she's not a mother, but they are. What kind of good friends would do that? Preggoland doesn't explore their friendship in depth nor does it delve enough into the relationship between Ruth and her father which probably would have helped to illuminate more about the roots of her problems.

      When it comes to comedy, Preggoland delivers a few big laughs, but most of the attempts at screwball humor merely amusing and sitcomish. One particular sight gag toward the end involving jello works well, although, to be fair, it does last a little too long. If screenwriter Sonja Bennett and director Jacon Tierney were to have infused those comedic bits more naturally with the dramatic scenes, Preggoland wouldn't feel so uneven at times.

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Gravitas Ventures.
Opens at Cinema Village.

Spike Island

Directed by Mat Whitecross


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Level 33 Entertainment.
Opens at Plaza Theatre in Atlanta.
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