There’s a certain kind of film that seems to be coming out of the Sundance Film Festival these days. It’s a relationship-centered flick featuring a mildly dysfunctional white, middle class family and an especially neurotic protagonist, with a quirky tone pitched somewhere between tragedy and farce. And there’s generally a lugubrious indie pop music score.
The latest example of this increasingly tedious genre is “Hello I Must Be Going,” in which Amy (Melanie Lynsky), a recently divorced thirtysomething, has moved back into her parents’ home and spent the last three months moping around in clothing that makes her look like a bag lady (cue maudlin indie pop tune).
Naturally, Mom and Dad (veterans Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein) want daughter to get her life together, but instead she decides to have an affair with Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), a younger guy who turns out to be just as neurotic as she is – he’s an actor who hates acting, burdened with an over-protective mom. Can this relationship survive? Of course not.
Amy eventually decides that Jeremy is not for her, goes into the city to have a final confrontation with ex-husband David (Dan Futterman), and then takes matters in hand and moves out of the family manse, her future not certain, but supposedly upbeat (fade to black, as more whiny indie pop plays over the credits).
And that, pretty much, is that. “Hello I Must be Going” is a professional piece of work down the line – competently directed by Todd Luiso and well acted by a better-than-average cast – but I can’t say much more about it because, quite honestly, 24 hours after seeing it, I could barely remember anything about it. It’s so ephemeral, so insubstantial, and so darned generic, it fades from the memory as you’re watching it. Even though it’s a film about a life in crisis, it doesn’t make you care about the lead character. There isn’t a single scene you can point to as being particularly memorable (well, maybe Groucho Marx singing ‘Hello, I Must Be Going’ in the film Animal Crackers, which Amy is shown watching on TV). And there’s absolutely nothing about it that hasn’t been done 100 times already in a dreary succession of relationship-oriented indie films.
Let me put it this way. My grandmother had a three-letter word she used to describe something she didn’t like, something that wasn’t abhorrent, but just not worth her time. So I’d like to review “Hello I Must Be Going” by saying: “Feh!”