John Krasinski’s second feature film as a director and star isn’t terribly ambitious, but it gathers together a truly wonderful cast and gives them interesting things to say and do. Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins both fall into that tiniest category of actors I think of as “people I would pay to read my medicine bottles.” They’re always distinctive and alive.
Toss in Anna Kendrick, Sharlto Copley, Charlize Day, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Krasinski himself, and that’s enough reason to choose “The Hollars” for a home viewing right there.
Krasinski plays John Hollar, a typical arrested-development sort who can’t get his career or personal life out of first gear. He’s got an amazing girlfriend (Kendrick) who’s pregnant with his baby, but he hasn’t put a ring on it.
When family matriarch/rock Sally (Martindale) falls ill, dad Don (Jenkins) more or less dissolves into a puddle, while wayward son Ron (Copley) is dealing with his own issues, losing both his job and his family. Meanwhile, the Hollar family business is going under.
So John returns to a scene of chaos and resentment, as all these sharp divides must be spackled together with love and trust.
Everything goes exactly as you’d expect. Most of the time I dislike movies that are completely predictable. But “The Hollars” has genuine heart and some snappy dialogue courtesy of script man Jim Strouse.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you won’t get even a hint of any real surprises. But I doubt anyone who watches this film will consider it time ill spent.
Bonus features are decent. Krasinski and Martindale team up for a feature length commentary track, and there’s also a Q&A with the two plus Kendrick from the LA Film Festival. It also comes with two featurettes: “Persistent Vision: Margo Martindale” and “The Family Trust: Inside The Hollars.”