Pine again employs the potent charisma with which he played reckless young Captain James T. Kirk while showing off unsuspected depth and sensitivity. After nearly stealing the show in “The Hunger Games,” Banks provides both the emotional grounding and much-needed humor to “People Like Us.” D'Addario capitalizes on a potential breakout; his 11-year-old Josh is mischievous without getting too mean-spirited and precocious without becoming precious.
Although it occasionally flirts with becoming too soapy and contrived, Kurtzman, along with his stellar cast and crew, ably imbues the story with a sense of realness. That's perhaps to be expected since the script is loosely based on his own experiences — about eight years ago, he met his half sister for the first time, though he always knew she was out there — with additional real-life flourishes added by Orci and third screenwriter Jody Lambert.
The first-time director and cinematographer Salvatore Totino use real, nontouristy L.A. locations to endow the film with an added layer of authenticity. With the story's roots in '70s-era music, the film makes excellent use of Bob Dylan's “Tangled Up in Blue,” the Clash's “Spanish Bombs” and the like, while composer A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”) contributes a lovely, heartfelt score. The Oscar winner also collaborated with indie rocker Liz Phair on the gorgeous closing theme, “Dotted Line.”
Even better, the ending lives up to the song. Even if you see it coming, Kurtzman gives the film a satisfying emotional payoff that makes all the soap bubbles drift away.
— Brandy McDonnell
Officially Licensed Sports Gear! Shop 1000's of NFL Team Products.
‘People Like Us'
Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Hall D'Addario, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde. (Language, some drug use and brief sexuality)