Jamie Adams’ Alright Now, a romantic dramedy following a rock star following a particularly brutal double breakup, boasts that it is completely improvised. Here’s the funny thing about improvisation: you need actors who are good at it.
The film stars Cobie Smulders (of How I Met Your Mother and The Avengers fame) as Joanne, who, after a painful night of drinking following the breakup of her rock band and her relationship, enrolls in a marine biology program at a university. There, Joanne learns about fame, love, and…stop me if you’ve heard this before.
While Smulders is generally a talented, if perpetually underused, actress, she never quite reaches her full potential here. Most of the blame can be laid on the meandering improvisational nature of the film. Alright Now too often feels directionless (and at times, director-less), leaving the actors stranded to fill the air. Although it’s billed as a comedy, Alright Now struggles to make much out of its admittedly humorous premise. Improvisational comedies like This is Spinal Tap! and Best in Show (though even Christopher Guest has proven to occasionally misstep) worked well because their actors intimately understood how to be funny. Nobody working on Alright Now seems particularly comfortable with comedy, leading to several moments where the actors seem to think they are funnier than they really are.
While thematically interesting, Alright Now too often feels aimless and pointless. While there is certainly potential here, it never quite finds its comedic or dramatic footing. Overall, Alright Now would’ve benefited from less improvisation and a tighter script.
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Mark Barber: @WorstCinephile