If “sad comedy” is a genre, Craig Johnson’s thoughtful, touching film fits right in. (I believe the technical term for such a movie is “dramedy,” but it’s a word that gives me the vapors.)
Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play Maggie and Milo Dean, a pair of long-estranged twin siblings reunited, in the film’s opening moments, after Milo’s suicide attempt. In fact, a call informing Maggie of Milo’s suicide attempt comes just in time to stop her from her own plans for the day: swallowing a bottle of pills. Like I said, sad comedy.
Though the film has many funny moments — most notably a priceless lip-sync performance to Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” that brings the twins (and us) a moment of perfect happiness — the primary note struck here is one of quiet regret and, eventually, cautious hope.
DIRECTED BY: Craig Johnson
STARRING: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook and Joanna Gleason
RATED: R GRADE: B+
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
Reunited in their childhood hometown, where Maggie lives with her cheerful dude of a husband (Luke Wilson, delightful), the siblings sort through their troubled childhood, face middle-age disappointment and realize that the ordinary can be happy.
Johnson maintains a difficult, delicate balance throughout; the story’s darkness never quite overshadows its light. And, in casting Wiig and Hader, he’s created an uncanny pair of siblings. We always believe these two share a past — particularly when they laugh together. Nothing’s gonna stop them, it turns out, and that feels just right.