“That's the thing about friendship - it's a lot rarer than love; there's nothing in it for anybody.”
I always tend to watch movies just for a specific actor or actress. Most of the time I have no clue whatsoever what the movie is about I just want to see it for that person on the screen I happen to adore. Sometimes I have been surprised by how good the movie is and wind up really liking it. Other times the movie has been super boring but the actor or actress was really good. And at other times the movie on the whole was shite and the actor or actress was not that great (I am looking at you god awful TV movie Certain Prey and Tatiana Maslany who is normally awesome but was only alright and really awkward). With Are You Here? I had to watch it for Amy Poehler who is one of my all time favorite people in this world and I also like Zach Galafinakis. This movie happened to me the second of the three types of feelings I am left with when I watch a movie for an actor or actress I like.
The story starts off with this guy named Steve (Owen Wilson). He is shown going on dates with several women and not really being able to pay for dinner or even being with a prostitute. He works as a weatherman at a local news station. Steve usually arrives for his job high but manages to pull off doing his job without making a fool of himself. He has a friend named Ben (Galafinakis). Ben has some mental issues and comes off as eccentric. He lives alone in a trailer that Steve helps to pay for.
One day Ben comes by the news studio to tell Steve his dad died. They drive out to Amish country in Pennsylvania to the town they grew up together in. Ben’s dad owned a very successful grocery store in town and had hundreds of acres of farm land. At the reading of the will Ben gets all the money and the land while his sister Terry (Poehler) is left with only $100,000 and a couple hundred thousand more in bonds. Terry is pissed off big time because Ben is such a screw up with crazy ideas. She thinks Ben will burn the away the money on some insane idea and run the grocery store into the ground. Terry in general has a stick up her ass with life: she and husband (played by the eternally handsome and wonderful Joel Gretsch) have not been successful with starting a family and she hates her father’s much younger wife Angela. Angela is left nothing because she did not want the father to leave her anything.
With his father’s death Ben starts to fly off the handle and his mental issues get out of control. He gets arrested and he finally sees this as a sign to give in and start taking medication. Once he starts the medication, Ben becomes a different but better person. Terry likes seeing him take more responsibility and acting like an adult. The only person who does not like Ben’s change is Steve. Steve had come to depend on his friend depending on him. He never saw anything wrong with Ben and let him be who he wanted even if it was not good for him.
I am going to end my summary here. The story kind of bored me and could have been over with much sooner. Some of it is a bit predictable too.
Despite the not-too-great story the cast was really good. I said at the beginning Amy Poehler is an actress and personality I idolize and have for years. I did not know what the story was about I figured it was a comedy and she would be hysterical with Zach Galafinakis. I was very pleasantly surprised that Terry this was a dramatic movie and Poehler did a fantastic job playing a serious character. I am so used to her playing these crazy silly characters to see her play a serious one was fantastic she really does have a great range you do not see very often. Galafinakis, it is the same as with Poehler, I am so used to seeing him funny not serious. He also did a great job with the drama. Owen Wilson I do not like as an actor. There is something about him that annoys me and his character was a piece of crap. Jenna Fischer gets her name on the poster but she was barely in the movie. She was in it for a total of like five minutes toward the end. I also adore Fischer to no end as an actress so it was great to see her in something. Joel Gretsch is one of my TV crushes. He is not in a lot of things but whenever I see him on a show as a bit character I go a little silly. My love for Gretsch started when he was on the criminally underrated awesome show The 4400 when he played Tom Baldwin. Peter Bogdanovich makes an appearance as a judge. That to me was funny for some reason.
Are You Here? was a bit boring. The characters were good except for Steve. I can kind of relate to the character of Ben to a certain extent. I suffer from depression, anxiety, and ADHD and for a while I was very leery about going on medication I felt ten times better. I saw all the things I was doing that were not good and changed them. Now I feel a lot better and more stable. Sometimes it takes something bad happening to make the light bulb in your head go off to snap you into getting some help. I liked that aspect of Are You Here? with the character of Ben. Other than Ben’s story and Amy Poehler, Joel Gretsch, and Jenna Fischer I was not impressed with the movie. Damn these kinds of movies with crappy stories but great actors.