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PLOT: A middle-aged bachelor (Ed Helms) develops an unexpected friendship with the young woman (Patti Harrison) he hires to be his surrogate.
REVIEW: TOGETHER TOGETHER is an unconventional love story in that its totally platonic. The characters do indeed say “I love you” to each other, but in the way two friends might say the same thing. They have an immediate connection and may indeed be well-suited to each other romantically. However, they’re also twenty years apart in age, with Harrison’s character, Anna, explaining to Helms’ Matt that she finds that kind of disparity gross. The two never take it to the next level, making this a different kind of romance, but a refreshing one in some ways.
The fact is, despite the age difference, no one would have blinked at the two getting together, so in a lot of ways it’s edgier that the two don’t hook up. It’s perhaps also more realistic in some ways, given the fact that Anna is Matt’s surrogate, carrying a baby she’s supposed to give up once she’s carried it to term. Romance would be a profoundly bad idea.
As such, this is a pleasant, well-intentioned comedy, although one that’s a little low-wattage in that it’s a character study with very little conflict at its heart. It’s one of those pleasant indie comedies you get a few of at Sundance every year (indeed – it made its premiere there) that makes for a solid watch but has little staying power.
Of the two leads, I’d wager it’s Harrison who makes the biggest impression. As the young woman who’s already carried a baby to term as the result of a long-ago teenage pregnancy, she’s well-suited to the job at hand and seems pretty unconflicted about the fact that while she may be carrying the baby, she will not be its mother. She wants to use the money to go back to school, and Harrison’s vibrant performance brings her to life as probably the film’s most fully realized character.
By contrast, Helms is playing to type as the uptight but sweet Matt. An amiable bachelor, he’s the stock Helms character, in that he’s all awkward good intentions, but I must admit I’d like to see Helms branch out a little more as this character is getting a little familiar (check out his turn in Chappaquiddick to see how versatile he really is).
The two do have a nice, easygoing chemistry that makes them believable as companions, as they binge-watch Friends together and share their disappointments in love and life. As prototypical a part as it seems for Helms, I did appreciate the fact that he’s not portrayed as a sad-sack. While his character has been unlucky in love, he’s perfectly fine with being alone and it’s refreshing to see a single parent movie from the male perspective.
As far as laughs go, they’re of the modest variety here, although PEN 15 star Anna Konkle has a funny cameo as a new-age doula, while Tig Notaro has a nice part as the couple’s counselor they turn to establish boundaries. The movie is more-or-less stolen by former SNL writer Julio Torres as Anna’s coffee shop colleague though. It’s a great little part.
While I can’t say I was riveted by Together Together, it nonetheless held my attention throughout and is a nice little relationship comedy that’s perfectly acceptable for a lazy afternoon watch. Harrison is likely an up-and-comer and this is a good showcase for her talents.