PEOPLE LIKE US
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I have nothing against a movie that is a button-pusher. However, sometimes these kind of movies push the buttons so hard and so shamelessly that they become annoying. It’s for this reason that “People Like Us” ended up irritating me far more than it entertain me.
The story follows a fast-talking salesman named Sam (Chris Pine) whose father passes away suddenly. He tries to breeze in and out of town to take care of things with his mother (Michelle Pfeiffer), but he gets wrapped up in a bigger drama. Sam’s father’s attorney drops a bombshell on him that he has an unknown half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) from his father’s affair. Sam tracks the woman down and tries to start up a relationship with her and her son.
I understand the purpose of a family drama like this, and I also understand this is based on a true story, like so many ideas in Hollywood. However, things are laid on so thick here that it quickly becomes unbelievable.
We’re supposed to feel for the characters and realize that these are just good people dealt a bum hand. But they’re not. Banks plays possibly the worst mother on the planet, and her son is well on his way to becoming a criminal sociopath. Pine plays a wholly unlikable ass who is happy to turn everyone’s life around for his own selfish needs. Even as he tries to do the right thing, it’s all done to make himself feel better.
I hated the characters in this film, partly for blaming everyone else but themselves for their problems, and also because they continue to make strings of bad decisions even when they’re trying to make good ones. Sure, the movie looks nice, and the acting is pretty good. I just hated the people on screen, and that makes for a bad movie in my book.
The Blu-ray of “People Like Us” features better content than the movie itself. Off the bat, there’s a featurette called “Number One With a Bullet: The Story Behind People Like Us,” which tells the true story behind the film and how it landed in the hands of two people best known for big-budgeted event movies. Another featurette is “Taco Talk” which features Pine and Banks running takes at a famous taco stand.
Additional featurettes exclusive to the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, bloopers and an audio commentary with director Alex Kurtzman and writer Jody Lambert.
The included DVD has another commentary with Kurtzman along with actors Pine and Banks. There’s also scene-specific commentary with Kurtzman and Michelle Pfeiffer.