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Movie review: ‘About Alex’

About Alex

* * 

Director: Jesse Zwick

Cast: Nate Parker, Jason Ritter, Aubrey Plaza, Maggie Grace, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella

Rated: R (strong language, drug use)

Running time: 96 min.

Posted 4:00pm on Thursday, Aug. 07, 2014

“This is like one of those ’80s movies,” a character says in About Alex, the feature debut from director/writer Jesse Zwick. And it’s one of the truer statements in this predictable indie-rock Big Chill where a group of late-20-something friends get together over a weekend to open old wounds, make new ones and argue about the merits of Arcade Fire.

What’s brought them all to one place is the attempted suicide by Alex (Jason Ritter). There’s the hyper-intelligent but obnoxious misanthrope Josh (Max Greenfield), conservative financial guy Isaac (Max Minghella), unfulfilled lawyer/wanna-be chef Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) and seemingly perfect couple Ben (Nate Parker), a budding writer, and Siri (Maggie Grace). Isaac, who has an ongoing flirtation with Sarah, has also brought along his very young new girlfriend (Jane Levy), who feels left out of the clique, all of whom met while in college.

Well-acted by the cast and tastefully directed by Zwick, About Alex proves that the directorial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His dad, Ed, worked on such worthy dysfunctional-family TV series as thirtysomething, Family and My So-Called Life.

But taste, talent and lineage only go so far when nearly every line feels like it’s from a script, not life. There’s not a single surprise in this 96 minutes of millennial moaning.

With friends like these …

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