The trouble with a nerd trying to find himself is that an audience member might not care very much about watching his quest. Writer/director Demetri Martin, a comedian, has cast himself in the role of Dean but the character is not very compelling. Mourning the loss of his mother, Dean is at sea and is clumsy in attempting relationships. He has a gift for funny sketching , and is working on a book. His sketches (by Martin), often involving the Grim Reaper, are the most amusing elements in the film.
Dean is at odds with his father, Robert, played by Kevin Kline, who is also mourning the loss. Dad’s instinct is to want to get on with his life, despite the emotional difficulty, and he wants to sell the family house, which Dean clings to, and father and son issues linger uncomfortably.
Kline, always the skillful actor, provides a more interesting aspect of the film, especially when he becomes increasingly attracted to Carol, his real estate agent, played with welcome warmth by Mary Steenburgen, who is attracted to him. Their relationship is the best part of the film, and when Robert has trouble getting further involved because of his lingering love for his late wife, Steenburgen is emotionally touching in her response, with the film’s best line about her finally meeting a man whom she likes and finding that he is married.
The stuff involving Dean gets increasingly annoying when he goes to Los Angeles and becomes involved with ditsy characters. He develops a thing for Nicky (Gillian Jacobs), who is only casually attracted to him because her life is otherwise engaged.
The film seems much longer than it is. I would have preferred an entire movie about Robert and Carol rather than having to suffer through Dean’s nerdy angst and endure the vapid characters in his limited world. A CBS Films release. Reviewed June 2, 2017.