DIRECTED BY: Barry Blaustein
WRITTEN BY: Peter Himmelstein
STARRING: Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Ben Schwartz, Judy Greer, Kate Mara, Alicia Witt, Taraji P. Henson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ron Rifkin, Lewis Black
RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2011 (limited)
Ah, family. That’s what it’s all about, right? Spending time with the ones that you love as often as possible; sharing life and memories and laughter with them in the short time we’re on this beautiful big rock.
OK, so that’s what it’s about for a lot of people — it’s not so true for others. Like the Meyerowitz family, for example. Every single year they gather on their father’s birthday to celebrate the man that made them who they are today. Unfortunately, on this particular birthday gathering, one of them has the others not so happy and emotions are running high and hot.
Peep World is a movie about one person’s success at the expense of their own family. Nathan Meyerowitz (Ben Schwartz), an author whose book has gone on to massive popularity, skyrocketing him to the top of the world, is living the good life. The only problem is that his book is a tell-all, and it does not shine a positive light on his mother, father, two brothers, and sister.
Nathan’s sister, Cheri (Sarah Silverman) takes it the worst. She plans to sue her brother blind all while the movie adaptation of the book is being filmed outside of her own apartment. Her two brothers, Jack (Michael C. Hall) and Joel (Rainn Wilson), on the other hand, are taking the situation as calmly as possible though also very much affected by the not-so-flattering image of them that is now a part of popular culture. This leaves the siblings fighting to figure out what’s gone wrong in their lives while getting ready for dad’s (Ron Rifkin) 70th birthday gathering, where they’ll all have to face each other whether they’re ready to or not.
After seeing the trailer for Peep World, I was completely excited to check it out. As you can see the premise is pretty simple, but with a cast like this how could any fan of movies not be thrilled to see it? And that, of course, is the best thing about this film: the performances.
To be perfectly honest, though it may shock some, the one who stood out above all others for me is a one Sarah Silverman. She’s well known as one of the absolute funniest women on the planet and we’ve seen her in movies plenty of times before, but in this movie she takes an impressive dramatic leap of faith and does a tremendous job as a struggling actress, bitter and furious at her baby brother’s inability to protect the integrity of his family in his work.
Right behind Silverman’s performance, the rest of the cast is also outstanding down to even the smaller supporting roles. Michael C. Hall is perfect as the stable sibling who seems to be taking everything fine, even though his troubles are just as large as everyone else. Rainn Wilson is memorable as the brother who’s always in some sort of trouble, but he adds a welcomed layer of appeal to his character by making him seem innocent and lovable at the same time. Stephen Tobolowsky as Cheri’s peace-loving pal, Taraji P. Henson as Joel’s new girlfriend, Judy Greer as Jack’s wife, and Kate Mara as Nathan’s assistant all bring their own unique touch to the story, making the movie a real treat for any fan of performances.
Peep World has a lot of drama fueling it, but as a dark comedy it’s the dry and sarcastic humor that keeps things flowing smoothly. Being someone who’s instantly turned off by movies built on constant awkwardness, this film knows how uncomfortable that can be and makes sure to insert well-placed and subtle jokes throughout to lighten the tone just enough to evolve the story.
If you like movies then there’s a pretty good chance you like at least one of the actors in this movie, if not all of them, making it well-worth everyone’s time. Especially in a world dominated by sequels and remakes, Peep World is one of those refreshing little movies you have to dig a little deeper to find. It’s a small film, but it has a lot of heart, a lot of personality, and a wonderful variety of colorful characters bringing it all together.