EVERY DAY (2011)
Starring Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt, Carla Gugino, Eddie Izzard, Brian Dennehy, David Harbour, Ezra Miller, Skyler Fortgang, Tilky Jones, Benita Robledo, Chris Beetem, Daniel Yelsky, Bianca Giancoli, Albert M. Chan and George Riddle.
Screenplay by Richard Levine.
Directed by Richard Levine.
Distributed by Image Entertainment. 93 minutes. Rated R.
As you can tell by the somewhat generic title, Every Day is the story of what Sly Stone used to call everyday people – at least they think they are. A mostly clever and interesting dramedy about a well-off forty-something couple wilting under the pressures of the outside world, the film is concurrently very relatable and complete fantasy. However, it mostly works very well until a just a bit too-polished and tidy ending. Endings in everyday life are almost always much more messy.
What Every Day has going for it the most is some not-very-everyday (that is to say extremely good) performances by a smart and nuanced cast. Liev Schreiber is as always terrific as Ned – a forty-something professional TV writer (that’s not very everyday!) who is going through a series of career and personal traumas. He works on a cheesy, button-pushing TV series that prides itself in having at least five shocks per episode, but Ned is having trouble keeping up with the “top this!” scandalous storylines. (Brit comic Eddie Izzard has some sharp fun as his self-absorbed boss.)
He has been married for twenty-some years to his college sweetheart, Jeannie (Helen Hunt). Jeannie is a stay-at-home mom who is now being overwhelmed by the responsibility of taking care of her cantankerous, terminally-ill father (Brian Dennehey) – who has just moved in with the family.
In the meantime, their fifteen-year-old son Jonah (Ezra Miller) has just come out of the closet and wants to start to socialize in the older gay community, leading to some passive-aggressive sparring with dad. And their youngest son? Well, he’s just a bit precocious.
As Ned’s professional concerns escalate, he falls in with another writer at the show, the beautiful-but-live-for-the-day Robin (Carla Gugino). Robin reawakens the long-married Ned’s libido and appears to offer an intriguing alternative to the complexities, problems and staidness of long-time married life. Of course, it turns out that Robin also has some relationship skeletons in the closet.
Every Day was written and directed by TV vet Richard Levine of the series Nip/Tuck, giving the storyline – particularly Ned’s work life – a feel of realism and just slight a slight whiff of condemnation about the world of TV.
However, the audience can’t help but notice that Ned is not necessarily an everyday person, though he is certainly going through a rough patch. He’s obviously well-off. His wife doesn’t have to work, they live in a gorgeous home and he can apparently afford to move his father-in-law into a nursing home full time without seeming to worry about the expenses.
I’m not suggesting that rich (or even very fiscally comfortable) people do not have serious problems in their lives. I’m just saying that his apparent financial liquidity heads off a lot of complications and potential roadblocks caused by those problems that other families with lesser means would still have to weigh.
His gay son throughout seems to be a level-headed and reasonable kid and Ned himself has nothing against homosexuality – as can be gleaned from some verbal sparring with his proudly out boss. Therefore, the kid’s sexuality seems more the dad’s problem – that he can’t quite allow himself to deal with it – than the kid’s.
Even his career problems, though real, are somewhat of his own making. He knew what the show was about before he took the job. And he does eventually passionately – if just slightly over-the-toply – stand his ground against the rampant sensationalism on the show.
However, even though Every Day is not quite as everyday as it would like to think, it is a variation on a common problem for people of a certain age. Thanks to strong performances, Every Day allows us to meet one of these families and feel that we have learned from their experience. You never know quite what is happening in anyone’s home and Every Day is at its most interesting because it opens a window into one particular home and lets us see what is going on inside.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 8, 2011.