Standing Up, Falling Down is a really nice dramedy about people finding and relating to each other. It’s funny, touching, performed well, and directed with fluency by newcomer Matt Ratner. As far as movies go about characters leaning on comedy as a crutch to hide their true emotions, the film is the best of its kind since Judd Apatow’s Funny People.
Ben Schwartz, who can currently be heard as Sonic the Hedgehog in your nearby multiplex, headlines this sweet indie as Scott, an aspiring comedian licking his wounds as he moves from Los Angeles to his hometown of Long Island to regroup his career. He faces unfinished business with family and unresolved issues with ex-girlfriend Becky (Eloise Mumford), but a run-in with an uninhibited barfly, Marty (Billy Crystal), is his most memorable encounter yet. As friends, they’re in like Flynn, but their true connection is quite subdued. They share a brand of roasting sarcasm and can crack jokes easily, but they don’t realize that they’re using their humour as a defence mechanism. After their nights out, they go home and reflect on broken relationships; even going as far as being inspired by the other to improve on their own flaws.
Most filmmakers that decide to manoeuvre through these “sad clown-esque” themes usually play their stories in a downtrodden key with a sense of sardonic self-deprecation – Standing Up, Falling Down swings the other way. The film enjoys itself in the moment, aligning the story with current moments of happiness instead of hanging on to past remorse. Regrets are acknowledged, but only because the film’s cathartic conversations and upbeat energy motivates these characters to push through their hang-ups and recognize how they can improve to find their own growth.
Simply put: Standing Up, Falling Down is satisfaction.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie