Tribeca Review: Every Day

By Perri Nemiroff 2010-04-30 22:11:01discussion comments
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Writer Richard Levine's entire resume consists of work on the small screen, most notably on Nip/Tuck, so it's no surprise that his first feature film plays out much like a TV show. The unusual thing is that Every Day is as ordinary as they come, whereas Nip/Tuck is far from it. Every Day may be a low-key film about an average family dealing with average problems, but Levine's more twisted side is still evident; its brainchildren are just kept as theoretical concepts rather than visual ones.

Ned and Jeannie (Liev Schreiber and Helen Hunt) live in a nice home with their two sons Jonah and Ethan (Ezra Miller and Skyler Fortgang). Like just about any family, they're seemingly happy, but have some issues. Ned writes for a television show and his more restrained ideas clash with his boss' demand for concepts with extreme shock value. Jeannie is forced to ditch her career when she winds up taking care of her sickly father in addition to her two boys. Making matters worse, her father, Ernie (Brian Dennehy), is a bit of a handful and anything but thankful. Then there are the kids; Jonah has known he's gay since he was 12, but his father is still having a hard time accepting it. Meanwhile, Ethan is on the paranoid side constantly questioning his folks about the potential of home invaders and if his grandfather will walk into the light soon.

The gang certainly has troubles, but all of the calamities are fairly reasonable. The dialogue is natural and the characters’ thought processes believable leading to a series of events that play out in a manner that feels real. It also feels a bit like an elongated episode of a television drama. It never dulls, so it's not stretched to the point of feeling bloated and boring. Every Day isn't tending toward a grand conclusion; it flows more like a weekly show. The progressions are taken in stride and are significant but not overwhelmingly profound occurrences in a never-ending story, the story of a person's life.

It's a good thing the people we're spending the 97 minutes with are likable and even pretty funny. Jeannie is a little on the mopey side, but it's understandable considering the messes she’s stuck cleaning up. She spends most of her time with Ernie who, despite his dismal situation, garners a significant amount of laughs often at Jeannie’s expense. Ned's somewhat of a sad sack himself. He's the strong and silent type, never putting up a fight accept when it comes to Jonah's hope to attend a gay prom. Ned's situation gets interesting when his risqué live-life-for-the-moment coworker Robin (Carla Gugino) is assigned to help him fine tune a script. The word risqué pretty much says it all; sexual tension ensues.

Jonah's a typical teen packed with snarky remarks, but his involvement is secluded to tension created by his sexual preference. Ethan's quite the opposite. He lacks a storyline and acts as more of a spectator of the family affairs. He's a cute little boy with dialogue beyond his years, which is intrinsically funny.

Every Day is like any day; there's really nothing special about it, but it does emulate the value of seeing a nice movie for sheer enjoyment. There's no life lesson and it doesn't pass any judgment when it comes to dealing with family dysfunction, but it does leave you feeling pretty damn good in the end and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Check out Every Day to get out of your own head for a bit, have a giggle at another family's expense and put your own issues into perspective.
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