When the trailer of "People Like Us" first ran across my television, I immediately got the concept of the Dream Works film, and I can say that I assumed that I knew how the film was going to play out and what it would be about. But, as I sat in that comfy movie seat waiting for it to start, I can admit that I had no clue that there would be so much more. In this drama/comedy, which is based on true events, Chris Pine ("Star Trek) plays Sam, a twenty-something, fast talking salesman who's hit with one crushing blow after another.
Upon losing a pivotal deal in his career as a barter salesman, Sam (Chris Pine) comes home from one of the roughest days of his career to learn that his father has died. His girlfriend Hannah, played by Olivia Wilde ("In Time") is the one who breaks the news to him. Now this is an important moment, because for the viewer it can go two ways. You can think his reactions suggest that he's in shock, or you look at it as a firsthand glimpse into the kind of relationship Sam (Chris Pine) has with his father.
Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. It is Sam's reaction in this moment and his tricks due to his unwillingness to go home that tells the audience what kind of emotional journey we're going to go on with this character.
In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, and he bonds with his new found sister and nephew, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process. And during the course of the re-evaluation battlefield, Sam is forced to face some tough truths with his mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
In the beginning of the film, I have to admit, I was a little taken a back with Sam's attitude towards his father and at times I felt like he was being an insensitive jerk to everyone around him from his mother to his new found sister. But then there was a point when I was totally upset with Sam's father and then his mother and felt like they were wrong. But as we continued the ride of a great dramedy known as "People Like Us," I started to understand the depth of all of the characters and why they're the way they are, which made me have a place in my heart for every single one of them. In the end, I give "People Like Us" four out of five stars!
There was just enough balance of drama and comedy with an incredible story line that offered a big pay off at the end of the movie. It's a great film about love, compassion, self-worth, forgiveness and selflessness that left me leaving the theater with an ending that had well rounded ending and closure. However, with that said I still wanted more, which in this case is a good thing because I didn't need more, I wanted to know more. Meaning, I wanted to continue to follow the characters of Sam and Frankie.
"People Like Us" is a wonderfully written screen play by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert. Pine and Banks knocked the roles of Sam and Frankie out of the park. Alex Kurtzman, who is also the director and Robert Orci, Bobby Cohen and Clayton Townsend, they were the producers; well, they also did a great job of casting Michelle Pfeiffer in the roll of Sam's mother. As a fan of her work, it was good to see her back on the big screen hitting those Pfeiffer depths and off beat comedic timings that she knows how to make work. "People Like Us" is a 115 minute rated PG-13 film to that everyone should see.