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Nesting (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 15, 2023

NESTING (2011)

Starring Todd Grinnell, Ali Hillis, Kevin Linehan, Erin Chambers, Erin Gray, Alexi Wasser, Jeffrey Stubblefield, Sorel Carradine, Erik Stocklin, Wes Armstrong, Jeremy Radin, Jamal Thomas, John Gerbin, Ian Jensen, Christine Barger, Allison Paige and John Chuldenko.

Screenplay by John Chuldenko and Sean Blythe.

Directed by John Chuldenko.

Distributed by Danger Train Films. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Arrested development can be funny. Just look at, uh, Arrested Development. Or Old School. Or I Love You, Man. Adults who just refuse to grow up can be just naturally funny.

So Nesting is nesting in fertile comic territory. Sadly, the movie finds little that is new or interesting to say about the situation. Just having a funny idea isn't enough.

The person with the Peter Pan complex here is Neil (played by sitcom vet Todd Grinnell), an aging rocker in his early forties who has finally given up the dream of rock stardom, though not enough to actually get a real full-time job. Instead, he lets his wife Sarah (Ali Hillis) bring home the bacon.

They somehow afford this gorgeous Pasadena house and a steady stream of consumer items on her salary as a magazine editor and his side light as a mystery shopper.

However, Neil is feeling nostalgic for the old days. When he met Sarah, she was a struggling wannabe rock journalist with a run-down apartment in LA's funky Silverlake area and she drove a beat-up Volvo station wagon. (Trust me, as someone who dated lots of nineties rock zine chicks: they didn't drive beat-up Volvo wagons. They drove beat-up VW hatchbacks.)

So, even though he has a perfectly wonderful wife, a beautiful home, lots of stuff and no real job, Neil feels that life has played a dirty trick on him. How dare he have to get old?

He fights it – wearing ironic t-shirts, drinking with his buddies and not really working in a mall – but Neil is aging. And that makes him unhappy.

Therefore, when home renovations are forcing them to move out of the house for a few weeks (again, how are they paying all this on a magazine editor's salary?) Neil sees the opportunity to put a little life back in his stagnant life. As he tells anyone who will listen, he wants to have an affair with the woman his wife was five years earlier.

Therefore, on a whim, he buys a used Volvo wagon (yet again, where is this money coming from?) and they decide to do a road trip to San Francisco. However, before they even make it out of the LA area, they pass the turnpike exit to their old neighborhood and decide to take an old-times-sake look at Silverlake. (Though, technically, I believe, both Pasadena and San Francisco are to the north of Silverlake, so I'm not so sure they'd have gone in a direction to have passed that exit.)

They are shocked by how much they missed the neighborhood and how much it had changed. (It's only been five years, guys...) Then, when they find that their first apartment is vacant and for rent, they decide on a whim to break in and squat at the place until their house is done. (Though Neil is such a defanged rebel that he does eventually call the landlord to enquire about renting.)

Now, instead of their Ikea and Restoration Hardware existence, they get to go to hipster bars and funky shops and coffee shops. They make love on the floor, she gets high, he remembers what it was like to be young. And eventually, they have to deal with the consequences of being caught. (They act like they are far away and unable to get home, when it is actually just a short highway trip from Silverlake to Pasadena.)

If it sounds like a sitcom, it is. Only difference is, a sitcom is over in 21 minutes. This goes on for an hour and a half.

It's slick and the leads are likable enough, but you never buy Nesting for a second.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2012 All rights reserved. Posted: May 4, 2012.

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