What tries to be an intense, cerebral drama turns out to be anything but in director Dan Mirvish's astonishingly terrible Between Us. If first impressions truly are everything, it appears someone forgot to give the memo to the director and cast, as the film opens with one of the most inexplicably irritating and unnatural dialogue sequences in contemporary film history. For those holding out hope
things don't get much better.
The story centres on two couples; once friends, but now heading in different directions- the offbeat artistic pairing of Carlo (Taye Diggs) and Grace (Julia Stiles) and the wealthy but unhappy Joel (David Harbour) and Sharyl (Melissa George).
No further synopsis can be provided, though, as the film proves to be utterly plot less right from the outset. The story intermittently jumps between key moments in these characters' lives, providing no valid linkages along the way, instead assuming that audiences will graciously accept multiple sudden breaks in an already disjointed film.
Each scene feels atrociously recycled, simply putting a different couple in the same troublesome situation. Naturally, this highly predictable fare becomes tired very quickly, as the film persistently fails to demand even the slightest sliver of viewer attention.
Writers Mirvish and Joe Hortua grossly mishandle any opportunities to develop their characters. All four individuals regularly flip-flop on decisions and established motives, giving a laughably embarrassing air to a film that takes itself far too seriously.
And yet, none of its aforementioned flaws can trump the disastrous overacting indulged in by each cast member. Harbour leads the pack, coming off as some sort of cringe worthy aberration of Modern Family's Phil Dunphy, with all of the social awkwardness and none of the charm, but make no mistake- the honour of 'worst actor' remains very much a four horse race, culminating in a soppy, borderline intelligence-insulting ending. Avoid with extreme prejudice.
*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on [email protected] and let me know what you thought of my review. If you're looking for a writer for your movie website or other publication, I'd also love to hear from you.*