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Movie Review: How To Be

I love these quirky little British comedies, don't you? There's nothing like British humor. I remember skimming through the movies at Blockbuster (before it closed) looking for those straight-to-video movies that just might be a hidden gem. Or terrible, you never know. They don't tend to play in the theatres, at least not here, and you almost never hear about them.

That's why I watched How To Be.

Sadly, the trailer ended up being more entertaining than the entire movie. I had such hopes for it, too!

How To Be tries to be funny, but fails at almost every attempt. It also tries to be clever, but doesn't succeed in that, either. A few mildly charming moments don't make a movie good.

I can see the point this movie is trying to make, however. Art is trying to find himself as well as get affection from his emotionally distant, critical parents. They take very little interest in him. The mother, Rebecca Pidgeon, often says, "I wonder about you sometimes, Arthur." And it's said in such a scripted, deliberate way that you know it's meant to cause a reaction at some point. Which it does, I guess, in Art. But it doesn't make for a thought-provoking film, even though the intentions are there.

I wasn't sure if Art was supposed to be mentally challenged or if he just came off that way. I figured he might have Aspergers, but this was never addressed.  "He's here to make me more normal," Art says when he brings in the Canadian self-help author, Dr. Levi Ellington (a silly little man who is meant to make this film funnier). So Art is aware that he is different, and that his parents are aware he's different. I think the whole point of trying to get some help is to get his parents' love and approval.

Although I didn't really enjoy How To Be, I have to say that I prefer Robert Pattinson in roles like this, i.e. lighter, comedic roles. I know I'm in the minority here, but I like him more in this type of role. It's just too bad that the movie wasn't very good.

My Grade: D+


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