Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012) Poster

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9/10
Portrait of a (Perpetually) Young Man
coop204619 February 2013
I caught this film at last year's SXSW film festival, and it ended up being one of the more memorable surprises of the fest. A droll comedy with elements of surrealism blended in, Somebody Up There Likes Me is about Max (Keith Poulson), who drifts through life with an air of detachment, taking in every new major development (such as marriage and childbirth) with a shrug. In a sense nothing really seems to change for Max, a point which is driven home by the fact that he never visibly ages on screen, even though the story skips ahead 5 years at a time on numerous occasions. Max is frequently accompanied by his best friend and co-worker Sal (Nick Offerman), who dishes out hilarious advice and acts as a sounding board, confidant and, eventually, romantic rival.

Somebody Up There Likes Me is a wry meditation on life, fate, mortality, and responsibility. Despite the presence of such seemingly heady themes, the film is briskly paced and remains consistently funny thanks to some sharply written dialogue and a terrific cast. Keith Poulson and Nick Offerman make for a great pair, and their banter is perhaps the highlight of the movie. The animated interludes (by Bob Sabiston, of Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly fame) are evocative and contribute to the somewhat dreamy quality of the material. I look forward to seeing the film again, as it's one that has stuck with me for some time. If nothing else, Somebody Up There Likes Me feels completely unique, an oddball charmer that takes you on a funny and melancholy journey through something like human existence.
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8/10
Deadpan dream
mauricepialat198322 February 2013
I'm not usually a fan of these new American independent movies...they're mostly insipid, badly shot wrecks, but this was not that. I caught SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME at the Viennale and would highly recommend it. It was one of the few comedies that I saw there, and I'm happy to say that I laughed a lot. It has oddball charm, a story conceit similar to Bunuel, and tenderness at its core. I really loved the lead actor's performance. The director has a voice and characters that know how to speak it. It makes me want to see this Bob Byington's other movies. It also makes me want to see more comedies. What's wrong with people being so serious all the time? Boring, pretentious. I could go on and on...but what it boils down to is this: go see this and laugh and feel something, because you don't want to end up like the main character in it, trust me - that's why you should see it, so you know what you might become if you're numb to laughter.
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1/10
Pointless & a waste of time
everyonesa_critic24 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I ended up renting this movie on On Demand because Nick Offerman was promoting it. Even though the movie is only a little over an hour, it feels much longer. It's genre is listed as a comedy, but there is truly nothing funny about it. All the characters are unlikable and unsociable. And why I had to list spoiler alert... Everyone in the movie has sex with the other. It was so incest-driven. To top it off, no one in the entire movie ages except for the kid, which ruins the timeline all together. When the characters are supposed to be in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, they still look like they're 25. Just because a movie is dry and an independent release doesn't mean it's good or that you have to be the "right kind of person" to "get it". Sometimes, movies are just crappy. Like this one.
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The pain of being stuck in a theater room
Greg758 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
So I got stuck in the metro because of an accident on the line, so I went out of the station, it was raining and very cold, so I found shelter in this Paris art-house cinema, mostly because of my everlasting interest for films, but also attracted by -let's face it- the nice poster with bright colors, as the night was falling and the frost was biting my feet. After 5 minutes in the empty screening room (the usher was not sure that there would be a "private screening" just for me but then another person walked in), so then after 5 minutes I knew that this film had already shown it all, and that there would not be any surprise to come : I was facing a time warp into the early 90s indie cr*p, the sort of film made by some Hal Hartley wannabe, with a twist of today's Solondzness. Caricatural shifty/witty/ugly/unlikeable characters, lots of void & pouting glares between cues, pretentious unfunny comedy lines, annoying corny little music score. Love & melodrama between the kitchen sink and the bathroom, over 20 years in the lives of unfathomably dull characters (could have been a French film, but not even). A deluge of clichés resuming in a film that, in a normal world, should have stuck to a late night screening of a penniless, remote & semi-freaky festival. But released theatrically ? I just couldn't believe my eyes. At that point (10 minutes), I felt an urge to rush out. I could obviously face the rain, and the possibility of the metro being still blocked and of having to bump into throngs of hurrying people in the streets. I chose to stay. It was warm in there. I played Angry Birds for the rest of the film (the Star Wars edition). The images of the film were sort of gliding over my forehead, making their way to the back of the room. I could follow the plot effortlessly without really watching or listening.

One of the most miserable evenings of my life so far.
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2/10
Not good.
kevin-12724 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
You know that moment when you're around people who are trying to be more clever than they actually are? Trying to appear witty and edgy and oh, so avant guard? The type of person who puts a book by Joseph Campbell next to something by Lynda Barry on the coffee table because they want to be seen as hip intellectuals, edgy social commentators on the human condition? The type of person who wears mis-matched socks because they refuse to conform to convention? The type that wants you to acknowledge their nonconformity and free, independent spirit. The type who has business cards made up that say "Artist"?

That's what this movie felt like. My wife and daughter and I watched this through cable streaming (there's $8 I'll never see again) because it looked a quirky, independent comedy, and we love quirky independent comedies. And because it had Nick Offerman in it. Well...it was probably independent, but it wasn't quirky or a comedy. And I'm horrified that Hollywood may be right about greenlighting movies based solely on genre and name-brand actors, because, like I said, they have my $8.

First, the good: Alex Ross Perry as the Pizza and Ice Cream store's first customer was wonderful.Stood out from the crowd and as far as I was concerned was the only redeemable moment in the film. He's a good actor and since he was nominated for a John Cassevetes award (For a different film) this year, we'll probably get to see more of him.

That's it. About 1 1/2 minutes. The rest was too busy trying to be clever and witty and charming and edgy to be any of those. The screenplay was banal, the casting was god-awful (just goes to show how important casting is), and Shawn Price Williams's cinematography was really bad - full of amateurish mistakes. I thought the manic zooming in Jeff, Who Lives at Home was bad, but the overexposed shots in this film were worse. Did not serve the story at all and seemed to have no rationale other than an impulsive need to seem arty at random places. I'd swear that once Williams opened the iris in the middle of a shot. No reason. Just did it.

I love Offerman. I love Alex Ross Perry. Everything else...no. Can't recommend it. I can't lay out all the lame, pretentious plot problems because they are spoilers (there's a joke there somewhere), but it reads like a film that had huge problems getting finished and was shot largely without a script - constructing story as they went.
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8/10
Great little film
anni-vani957 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, this is a great film with a great humour.

It's enjoyable to watch because the film doesn't try to force wit on you and try to convince you that it's funny.

But on another note, I am just writing this review to tell everyone not to listen to the reviews complaining about people not getting older in the film. IF you would pay attention to the plot and watch the film to the end (as you are supposed to, or am I wrong?) then you'd understand why they did that on purpose.

I think it is really worth watching if you like these kind of independent films (such as Scott Pilgrim, Dirty Girl etc.)
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