Wow, Jeff Daniels has grown up!!! I don’t mean it in a bad way. Sure he has gotten a little old, hell- he is 54 now. But do you remember the 1994 hit Dumb and Dumber with Jim Carrey? Yep, Jeff was the other lead. So it is funny to remember that role. He has matured and this is a lovely romantic comedy. Although it is a little different than your typical rom-com. It has characters whose paths cross in funny ways yet it has dramatic elements. Jeff Daniels’ grumpy and edgy character Arlen Faber is good for laughs.
So Arlen Faber- as the opening credits tells us- has written a book called “Me & God” 20 years ago. The book has become a hit of hits, a life-changing book for many and Arlen has millions of fans all over the world. Yet the man is a mystery. He has never given any interviews and his picture was never shown anywhere so no one even knows what he looks like. We, the viewer, however know who it is. The book has given all the answers you might wanna know about life in general. So after the credits, one might expect a serene, confident and well, nice guy. Instead, we have an unpleasant, grumpy, and weird guy living alone in a huge house with signs attached on the rooms, describing what they are. He meditates all the time and reads self-help books but it doesn’t cheer him up.
Then there is Elizabeth- a single, over-protective mother who runs a chiropractor’s practice. And Kris, who is a recently recovered alcoholic and the owner of the bookstore that will also be another character in the movie.
One day Arlen has to go to a healing center after an awfully funny back incident and there he meets Elizabeth. After that, we find a whole different Arlen. With Elizabeth and near her son, he is nice, fun and wise. With others, of course he is usually an ass but starts to develop a strange friendship with Chris as well.
You have quirky characters with problems. And Arlen seems to have a good reason for being the “ass” that he is. …
It is a good movie. It is fun and interesting and eccentric. It could have been a little longer and I wish Arlen had a different secret behind the book. But I certainly do not agree with the viewers that think the movie is a rip off As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson. What? We can’t have a weird guy and single mother in a story anymore? C’ mon…
Watch it. Sure, there will be things you wish had been done differently. The writer/director John Hindman has pulled off a decent movie that I find honest and real.