Director: Max Landis
Cast: Luke Bracey, Dustin Milligan, Emily Meade, Angela Sarafyan, Scott Bakula, Geena Davis
Watch Me Him Her online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW TV / iTunes / Amazon Instant Video / TalkTalk TV Store / Google Play
Max Landis’ Me Him Her is a film you’ll probably either love or hate, partly because it walks a difficult tightrope between absurdity and naturalism. As a seasoned Los Angeleno warns his friend upon arrival in the city, “This is LA, the line between dreams and reality is thinner here.” So, the film takes a frank look at modern relationships through shouted exchanges and occasional outbursts of surreal comedy – it’s like Woody Allen got a Snapchat account.
Shot in 2013, Landis’ directorial debut is a comedy of errors about three young people grappling with their sexualities over the course of a weekend in Los Angeles. Brendan (Luke Bracey) is the closeted heartthrob star of a popular television show, who flies his straight buddy, Cory (Dustin Milligan), out to the big city for emotional support, as he plans to come out to his parents (Scott Bakula and Geena Davis) before the media catch wind of his sexuality.
Meanwhile, Gabbi (Emily Meade) has just been dumped by the manipulative Heather (Angela Sarafyan) and drowns her sorrows in the gay bar where Cory has unwisely directed Brendan to get to grips with himself. Pulling off an accelerated version of the ol’ Chasing Amy, Gabbi and Cory have a brief encounter that impacts on both of them, while Brendan seethes about his friend’s selfish behaviour.
You might think that we’ve landed somewhere in the middle on this, but frankly, we’re edging more towards ‘love’ than the ‘hate’ camp. By Landis’ own admission, the film is not without its flaws, but it’s one of those first features from a director who absolutely goes for broke. It’s almost the sort of film that you make if you don’t expect you’ll direct again – Landis is known principally as the screenwriter of films such as Chronicle and American Ultra – leaving absolutely nothing on the table. It’s never, ever boring and it offers more than a few laugh-out-loud moments within its brash yet intuitive interrogation of sexuality.
The result is inevitably somewhat breathless, approximating Allen’s tone at the pace of an Edgar Wright movie, mostly ratcheted up to ear-splitting volume. There are definite highlights among the endless screamed interchanges of dialogue between the main characters, including a masterfully awkward confrontation that happens to take place in front of a theatre-in-the-park crowd in Beverly Hills, but it does mean that the film will get less credit for what it’s saying than for how loud it’s saying it.
Conversely, the smaller, more tender moments tend to be incredibly on-the-nose, but no less believable for it – for instance, the line “I feel like our faces are being pulled together by invisible wires” before a kiss is as endearingly smooth as the film ever gets. Bracey, Milligan and Meade are the largest part of why it works when it does, variously clashing with Sarafyan’s wonderfully awful cartoon villain.
But overall, as in his YouTube videos, The Death And Return Of Superman and Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling, Landis’ register is comprised of many spates of lunacy in service of a larger theme. The short bursts are the strongest, as in the incredible cameo by Haley Joel Osment as Brendan’s hyperactive co-star, but the film feels altogether more slippery when it sustains this for longer, such as the jaw-dropping final confrontation, the contrived set-up of which takes the action from Being Flynn to Errol Flynn.
Me Him Her is loud and proud (though mostly just loud) about its inquisitive stance on labels and sexuality. The shallow, sporadic trips make it difficult to get as absorbed in the film as it is in itself, but it’s uncommonly compassionate about its mixed-up characters and it makes a virtue of its howling lack of subtlety. In a way, it’s only fitting that the film they’re in is just as confused.
Me Him Her is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £9.99 Sky Cinema Month Pass subscription – with a 14-day free trial.
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