Actors: Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga, Peter Riegert, Tom Skerritt
Director: Adam Rodgers
Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Run Time: 100 minutes
If I weren’t so irritated by At Middleton, I may have no choice but to be impressed. If only accidentally, there are usually at least a few things that even the worst films manage to get right. At Middleton is the most impressively atrocious attempt at filmmaking that I have seen in a long while, made even more nauseating by the fact that it is headed up with two actors who should know better. The film by relies almost entirely upon dialogue, though there is hardly a believable word spoken between two characters forced into a meet cute while on a college campus tour with their children. No amount of talent from the leading actors comes close to saving At Middleton from the atrociously cliché dialogue. Though the film is rated-R, the screenplay has the intelligence and maturity of a Disney Channel movie.
In an obvious attempt at imitating Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise franchise, At Middleton takes place during a single day at the title college campus. Characters are replaced by caricatures and conversations are made up of badly written dialogue made even more vomit-inducing by the confidence the filmmaker seems to have in its quality. Each horribly written line from Glenn German & Adam Rodgers is made more devastating by the arrogant confidence in the filmmaking, as if daring us not to consider the over-written and under-thought quips to be less clever than they are.
I’m actually embarrassed for Academy-Award nominated stars Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga for their involvement in this film. Garcia does his best with the material, but was apparently swayed by the producer credits and an opportunity to write the music for the film’s theme song. This is not nearly as repugnant as Farmiga’s obvious attempt at helping her talent-less sister into the world of film. Taissa Farmiga co-stars as the daughter of her real-life sister, so why is it that neither of them seem believable as human beings, much less a mother and daughter. Nepotism has never been so repulsively unbelievable on film.
Other than allowing a few stars to stroke their own egos and force melodrama into an unrealistic situation, the only real point to this film seems to be irreverent attempts at comedy. The problem is that the filmmaker apparently forgot to tell the cast what was meant to be humorous and what is intended to inspire emotions, so that the entire things feels ineffectively forced. The best example I can think to give is the response a tour guide gives when he is suddenly asked about the number of rapes on campus. He replies solemnly that there are a large number of rapes, but that it is college, “and that’s what you sign up for.” His delivery gives no indication of this being a joke, though it is a response no less humorous than any of the other jokes in this romantic comedy.
The Blu-ray has an audio commentary with co-writer and director Adam Rodgers, along with co-writer/producer Glenn German and producer/star Garcia. Also included is Garcia’s “There Was a Day” song and an outtake reel from the nepotistic set of actors enjoying the production far more than any audience member ever could. I enjoy most every film to some degree, but I hated, loathed, and despised At Middleton with ever fiber of my being. I would never recommend this film to my worst enemy.
How Hated List
1= a little hated 5=Hated plenty 10=Get the f*&^ out of here!