Review: “Every Day,” the same story.

Review: “Every Day,” the same story. (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

Ironically, there’s something bold when making a film about an unexceptional life, something that almost dares you as an audience to imagine other stories that are happening beyond the scope of your put-upon protagonist. In “Every Day,” I found myself wondering about the backstory of Carla Gugino’s Robin, a sexy producer of a risqué TV show called “Mercy Medical” who thrives on a diet of sushi (“brain food”) and casual drug use and lives in a glass-encased loft that overlooks the city.

Sadly, Robin isn’t the main character of the film, the feature debut of former “Nip/Tuck” scribe Richard Levine’s — Ned (Liev Schreiber) is, and he’s equally enthralled with Robin’s decadent lifestyle, exclaiming as he treads water in her Olympic-sized pool, “I am now officially covered in your life.” Oh, if only.

Despite the fact that both seem to be on similar financial footing as writers on the same TV show, Ned is forced to dry off and trudge back to his home in the ‘burbs where his wife (Helen Hunt) silently sobs and stews over taking care of her infirm and verbally abusive father (Brian Dennehy), his teenage son’s (Ezra Miller) burgeoning homosexuality is giving him headaches, and his younger son (Skyler Fortgang) is constantly asking about all the colorful language being thrown around the house.

There isn’t much more to the film than that, which is both its strength and its weakness. Levine’s obviously put his heart into this and has an ear for lived-in dialogue, but it feels like Schreiber’s considerable gravitas is wasted on indifferent bickering with his wife, as he floats through life unwilling to pick a fight with anyone. Such ambivalence appears to extend to his entire brood, who accept their roles within the family without much quibbling, at least externally.

That could be considered the point of “Every Day” — certainly, Gugino’s temptress is there to shake Ned out of the stupor of domestic routine and introduce him to the otherworldly delights that he’s missed, but as a director, Levine fails at translating that into dramatic tension. When Levine toys with the idea the family is somehow cursed — Dennehy’s cranky grandfather imparts a diagnosis from a former psychiatrist who said, “Happiness, given my family’s history, was an unrealistic expectation,” we’re supposed to disagree as tears well up in his daughter’s eyes, but we don’t, since no one seems to want to change their fate.

04242010_EveryDay2.jpgFortunately for the crowd gathered at the film’s world premiere at the BMCC Performing Arts Center, the film’s sedateness didn’t carry over into the lively post-screening Q & A where an eclectic group of audience interrogators brought out some candidness from the cast and crew. A pre-teen boy asked Miller, “Are you really gay [as he is in the film]? Because my sister likes you.” (In response, a poised Miller was unfazed, saying “I’m straight, but not narrow. And I have a girlfriend.”) Likewise, when Hunt began praising her co-star Dennehy by saying, “I’ve known him since I was 17,” Dennehy quickly implored the audience, “Don’t jump to any conclusions!”

The veteran actor noted it was the first time he saw the film and said he was “very impressed,” probably in no small part because the film was shot in a mere 23 days on a shoestring budget; after a man with imperfect English asked an odd question about the choice of cremation in a particular scene, Levine killed with a faux-desperate line, “Because we didn’t have enough money for a casket.”

Schreiber, acknowledging his wife Naomi Watts in the audience, said he agreed with the missus’ observation that the heart of Levine’s script was what drew him to the film as well as the chance to play a father, but added, “it’s a simple story and simple stories are often overlooked.” The unfortunate part of “Every Day” is it doesn’t do enough to stand out.

“Every Day” is currently without U.S. distribution.

[Photos: “Every Day,” Ambush Entertainment, 2010]


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.