FEATURED POST

'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

MOVIE REVIEW
Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

‘Splitting Up Together’ is a Terrible Idea, But Ironically Has Heart

Review of "Splitting Up Together"
Oliver Hudson and Jenna Fischer as the two ex love birds in
  Splitting Up Together (ABC)

 TV SERIES REVIEW 

Over the several years, ABC has brought back the family sitcom with some results better than otherS. The Middle and Modern Family go in the plus category, Trophy Wife and The Real O’Neals go in the other. As dull as it might seem, family sitcoms where the families are intact work better than those that aren’t.

Despite the casting of Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson, Splitting Up Together is a terrible idea for new family sitcom. It shouldn’t work and I’m not entirely convinced that it does, but the pilot episode airing tonight isn’t as bad as I suspected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not brilliant, but it does have some heart to it. ABC says that the show is based on a Danish series about a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce, so maybe their’s hope for these two crazy kids?

Here’s the deal: Martin and Lena (Hudson and Fischer) appear to others as a happily married couple with three kids. The truth of the matter is they haven’t had sex in two years, Lena is a bit of a control freak and Martin tends to check out on his duties. The two appear to be pretty good as parents, just not very good as husband and wife. While deciding to call it quits, the couple figure that they can’t afford to actually split up. They make a deal. One week she’ll live in the house while he lives in the garage and then switch the next week. It becomes abundantly clear to everyone (except themselves) that the two still love and need each other, but can’t make things work for some reason. The two start to do some soul searching on why things went sour (this is where the show has some hear and shows some promise) without really trying to make things better (which dashes any hope for these two to the ground). Where the show goes from here is anyone’s guess.


Review of "Splitting Up Together"
(L to R) Jenna Fischer, Van Crosby, Sander Thomas, Olivia Keville and
Oliver Hudson (ABC)
It might sound mean, but the rest of the characters of the show are pretty much useless. The older son, Mason (Van Crosby) is starting to go through puberty and complains to his mother about, ahem, some manly issues he’s having. This leads to some uncomfortable conversations between mother and son. The daughter of the family, Mae (Oliva Keville) is a mean-spirited feminist in the making and poor little Milo (Sander Thomas) pretty much gets ignored. The weird thing about these kids - none of them seem to be all that shaken up that mom and dad are getting a divorce. (Maybe they watched too many episodes of Trophy Wife or The Real O'Neals...)

Diane Farr fares better as Lena’s sister, Maya. The two banter back and forth well and act like real sisters. But Bobby Lee and Lindsay Price don’t add anything to the show as Lena and Martin’s friends. He says that he would be devastated if she divorced him and she says their marriage works because he worships the ground she walks upon. Uh-huh.

Call me crazy, but divorce is hardly the stuff of comedy gold. With the hope that somehow these two will reconcile offers some hope, but then there goes the premise of the show, right? (Now my head hurts.) At least it isn't a reboot of Imaginary Mary.

Spliting Up Together airs on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

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