In a cinemascape overloaded with cloying, predictable romantic comedies, People Places Things is a refreshing change. Although the scenario will be familiar to movie-goers – a newly single dad, Will Henry, negotiates co-parenting with his ex while navigating New York’s dating scene – the delivery is charmingly grounded.
This is in large part thanks to Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement, who plays Will Henry, a graphic novelist who teaches at the School of Visual Arts. After walking in on his half-dressed girlfriend Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) with one of their friends, monologist Gary, while Will and Charlie’s daughters’ fifth birthday party is underway downstairs, their relationship falls apart. Jumping forward a year, Will is living in tiny apartment in Astoria, trying to get over his relationship break-up, working out how to inspire his students and figuring out the best way to be a dad to his daughters.
While Clement’s comedic timing and offbeat delivery anchor the film and give it humour and sensitivity, the rest of the cast, including Will’s love interest Diane (Regina Hall), also the mother of his student Kat (Jessica Williams), and his gorgeous twin daughters (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby) deliver great performances.
Sweet but not saccharine, thoughtful but not heavy-handed, “People Places Things” is a delightful look at relationships and the challenges of single parenting.
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