‘Together Together’ Review Review

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Together Together (CREDIT: Bleecker Street/YouTube Screenshot)

Starring: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Julio Torres, Rosalind Chao, Tig Notaro, Sufe Bradshaw, Fred Melamed, Nora Dunn, Anna Konkle, Evan Jonigkeit, Jo Firestone

Director: Nikole Beckwith

Running Time: 90 Minutes

Rating: R

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Now that I’ve seen Together Together, I’ve got to wonder, can I now call it “Together Together … Together“? Do Ed Helms and Patti Harrison have room for a third. And would that third be anybody (and everybody) in the audience to see their little film? That might sound like an awkward arrangement, but it surely fits with the vibe of a fortysomething single dad-to-be forging a tight platonic bond with his twentysomething surrogate. But anyway, what I’d really like to focus on is Anna Konkle, who shows up for one scene as a New Age-y birthing coach. Excuse me while I fan myself. Also, Nora Dunn and Fred Melamed are on duty as Ed Helms’ parents, which is significant because I’ve also seen both of them in other parental roles recently (Dunn on the new ABC sitcom Home Economics and Melamed in the sensational Shiva Baby).

Grade: Julio-Torres-as-One-Man-Greek-Chorus Energy

This Is a Movie Review: ‘The Oath’ Offers a Caustic Vision of Thanksgiving in an America Built on Loyalty Above All Else

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CREDIT: Topic Studios/Roadside Attractions

This review was originally posted on News Cult in October 2018.

Starring: Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Magnussen, John Cho, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, Jon Barinholtz, Meredith Hagner, Carrie Brownstein, Jay Duplass

Director: Ike Barinholtz

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Rating: R for the Profanity of Thanksgiving and Surprisingly Potentially Lethal Violence

Release Date: October 12, 2018 (Limited)

I do not pledge allegiance to The Oath. Nor do I pledge anti-allegiance to it. That lack of fiery passion might be antithetical to a movie that is all about getting everyone riled up, but I need to be honest about how I really feel. And besides, I believe that The Oath ultimately advocates taking a breath and having more measured reactions to potentially explosive situations.

Is the America of The Oath the America that writer-director Ike Barinholtz is worried his country is turning into? He stars as Chris, alongside Tiffany Haddish as his wife Kai, with the two of them united in their disgust at The President’s Oath, an act that requests that Americans declare their allegiance to the president. Barinholtz and Haddish are both known for playing unpredictable balls of energy, but they both tone it down quite a bit here. Perhaps it is best to think of Chris and Kai as what the typical Barinholtz and Haddish characters would become if they settled down in the suburbs and had a young daughter. They are still plenty wound-up, though, Barinholtz especially, as Chris is a news junkie who despairs at every story that pops up on his screens. I suspect that Barinholtz is not quite so constantly on edge in his personal life and that he allows himself the catharsis of freaking out in his work. (If my presumption is wrong, then I sympathize with his friends and families.)

The fallout of the Oath on Chris and Kai and their extended family plays out on Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of controversial conversations between loved ones breaking down along predictably political lines. The Oath ups the ante by throwing government officials, firearms, and general creeping paranoia into the mix. Barinholtz is clearly influenced by a current administration that values loyalty above ethics, but he keeps his warning timeless by avoiding giving a name to anyone in charge. This breakdown in trust in society could happen any time, The Oath argues, and maybe wacky black comedies are the best thing we have to make sense of that.

The Oath is Recommended If You Like: Black comedy stage plays about squabbling families, Grounded political dystopias

Grade: 3 out of 5 Breaking News Alerts