Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment

Review: 'Are You Here' a waste of top-notch comedy cast

Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis are the stars of Are You Here, an unfunny tale about family tension and mental illness.
Published Aug. 19, 2014

Are You Here (R) (112 min.)Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner makes a troublesome filmmaking debut, wasting a dream cast for a comedy in a fitful story of family tension, mental illness and corrosive self-absorption. Are you laughing? Not nearly enough for a movie starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler.

This is one of those semi-serious projects comedians occasionally step into, wanting to stretch and winding up straining. Wilson plays Steve Dallas, a TV weatherman breezing through women when he isn't getting stoned with his clinically bipolar friend Ben Baker (Galifianakis). Ben's estranged father dies, and Steve joins him for the trip home for the funeral. Poehler plays Ben's type-A sister Terri, sniping at her underachieving sibling.

Yet the bulk of the father's inheritance goes to Ben, including the farm where the old man lived with a young nymph named Angela (Laura Ramsey). Steve gets ideas, and one of Weiner's missteps is making Angela interested, so soon after the death of a man she claims to love. The character regularly contradicts herself, stripping Are You Here of its last chance to involve viewers.

The plot curdles with questions: Will Ben go on the meds he needs? Can Terri void the will? Is Steve really that much of a jerk, or Angela so faithless? And the answers all come back: Who cares what these thoroughly unappealing people do? In trying to emulate James L. Brooks — a TV refugee who succeeded in films — Weiner neglects the humane elements making obnoxious people nice to be around for two hours. C- (Woodlands 20 in Oldsmar, and video on demand)

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Graham Nash will perform at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre on March 19. Courtesy of Amy Grantham
    Catch up on today’s Tampa Bay concert announcements.
  2. Gondolas move to various locations at Walt Disney World on the Disney Skyliner aerial tram, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Disney officials said the resort’s Disney Skyliner started operating again on Monday.
  3. This Sept. 30, 2019 photo released by ABC shows former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, left, and Lindsay Arnold during the celebrity dance competition series "Dancing With the Stars," in Los Angeles. President Donald Trump tweeted Monday, Oct. 14, that viewers should vote for Spicer. The president called him a “good guy” and wrote, “he has always been there for us!” Spicer told USA Today there’s no question a “huge” amount of his votes come from Trump supporters. ERIC MCCANDLESS  |  AP
    The president called Spicer a “good guy” and wrote “he has always been there for us!”
  4. From left: Jason Mewes as Jay and Kevin Smith as Silent Bob in "Clerks II." The Weinstein Company
    Catch a showing of the ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,’ the Jokes on You Comedy Tour continues and celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘Alien.’
  5. Actors emerge from a simulated farmhouse at the center of the Infected Haunted House at Scream-A-Geddon in Dade City. Luis Santana
    Fall fests, haunted trails and other scares kick off Halloween festivities.
  6. The French onion soup dumplings at Tropez. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    The approach at this restaurant/bar/lounge might be a little too eclectic. | Restaurant review
  7. Mumford and Sons will headline the 2020 Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in South Florida. Courtesy of Alistair Taylor-Young
    Vampire Weekend, Haim, Rufus du Sol and Kaskade lead the eclectic 2020 lineup.
  8. Families enjoy carnival rides at the 2018 Rattlesnake Festival at the Pasco County Fairgrounds. The festival returns Oct. 18-20, kicking off with a concert featuring the Bellamy Brothers on Friday and food, entertainment and educational activities throughout the weekend. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Musicals, art exhibits and other things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  9. Alison Krauss will perform at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 20. Capitol Records
    The Clearwater Jazz Holiday returns with a strong music lineup, Zac Brown Band plays Tampa and Barry Bostwick will be here to screen ‘Rocky Horror.'
  10. Festival goers move through the midway during the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church's annual Ethnic Festival. This year's festival will be Oct. 17-20 at the church on Spring Hill Drive at Coronado Drive. Tampa Bay Times | 2010
    The 28th-annual Ethnic Festival returns to St. Joan of Arc.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement