Release Date: Sept. 16, 2016
Running Time: 105 minutes
The Hollars is as fake as any reality TV show. That’s not to say actor/director John Krasinski doesn’t pour his heart and soul into this quirky comedy about a dysfunctional Ohio family struggling to cope with its matriarch’s illness. But James C. Strouse’s admittedly amusing screenplay reduces too many characters to shrill sitcom stereotypes and requires the acceptance of so many life-altering events that occur over the course of a few days. It all begins with Margo Martindale’s Sally Hollar learning she has a brain tumor and continues with Krasinski’s graphic novelist John trying to keep the rest of the family from falling apart. Krasinski’s divorced brother, Sharlto Copley’s Ron Hollar, so badly misses his kids that he’s practically stalking his ex-wife. Their father, Richard Jenkins’ Don Hollar, is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. Even Krasinski’s very pregnant girlfriend, Anna Kendrick’s Rebecca, is getting paranoid that he will sleep with his high-school sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Gwen. Given John is the responsible brother who is expected to hold everything together, it’s not a surprise to find Krasinski constantly in reactive mode as the crazed Copley runs around town like a headless chicken, Jenkins breaks down in tears at every available opportunity and delivers his worst performance in recent memory, and an antsy Kendrick threatens to give birth whenever the wind changes direction. Trust the calm and collected Martindale to hold The Hollars—both the film and the family—together as best as she can until Sally is hit with the realization that the operation to remove her brain trust may kill her. Krasinski, who previously directed Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, brings a light touch to The Hollars that thankfully makes its constant state of hysteria somewhat tolerable to endure. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any easier to spend time in the company of certain family members who can’t handle the pressure of life and make things miserable for the rest of us.
Aired: Sept. 15, 2016
Web site: http://sonyclassics.com/thehollars/