Actors: Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Heather Graham
Director: Angus MacLachlan
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015
Run Time: 86 minutes
Screenwriter Angus MacLachlan (Junebug, Stone) tried his hand at directing his own material with Goodbye to All That, a dramedy about divorce and middle-aged casual dating, with a script that is ironically the weakest element of the film. There are episodic moments of humor and some great performances, but the narrative meanders without direction until reaching a lackluster resolution. The conflict is never fully developed, in favor of scattered moments of random humor instead, so that very little seems to be at stake in the relationships of the few characters that actually matter.
At the center of the film is Paul Schneider likeably playing the aloof and clumsy family man Otto Wall, who is suddenly ambushed by his wife with a request for separation and divorce. This comes as a surprise to Otto, who figured the lack of fighting was a sign that everything was fine, while his wife (Melanie Lynskey) sees it as a lack of passion. This is a defining character trait of Otto, whose soft-spoken passive nature carries into his attempts to re-enter the dating world. After using Facebook to discover that his wife had been cheating on him behind his back, Otto finds that the social media site is also a good way to reconnect with old flames. For some reason, they all seem primed and ready for casual sex relationships with Otto, in a comical middle-aged male fantasy.
Not only do all of these gorgeous women seem to desire the sex more than Otto does, but none ask for any type of commitment from him. Many have recently been divorced themselves or simply want sex without any strings, though each of their peculiarities and sexual quirks serve as vignette humor throughout the film. We don’t see what it is that Otto does to deserve this attention other than becoming single, as even a young nymph from church inexplicably pursues our protagonist through online messages. As amusing as each performance from these gorgeous actresses (Heather Graham, Anna Camp, Ashley Hinshaw) may be, they serve little to no purpose in moving the narrative along. Even Otto’s interactions with his soon-to-be ex-wife are limited, leaving only his relationship with his daughter (Audrey P. Scott) as the core of the film.
The film almost slips into typical romantic comedy territory when Otto manages to reconnect with a former childhood summer camp fling while attending a reunion for it. Even though I appreciate the direction they were heading with this particular infatuation, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of a reunion for a summer camp. Rarely do I say this, but Goodbye to all That didn’t have a long enough running time. It isn’t even that I necessarily wanted more of the narrative, but there were so many characters and odd connecting parts that 86-minutes provides a scattered story which feels rushed and incomplete. The only plus side to the short length was it meant I was sooner able to say “goodbye to all…” No, I’m sorry. I won’t do it.
The DVD extras include only the trailer.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
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