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Critics wrangle: “Wristcutters: A Love Story.”

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"Everything's the same here, it's just a little worse."
In Goran Dukic‘s "Wristcutters: A Love Story," suicides end up in an afterlife that looks a lot like industrial Los Angeles. Hell? No. Twee? The argument could be made. But reviews are decent to mixed on the film, which premiered at Sundance last year and has played at dozens of festivals since, and was for a while thought undistributable because it might be read as using suicide as a platform for comedy. "Fundamentally ‘Wristcutters’ isn’t about suicide at all," writes Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir.

It’s about how life, when you’re young and aimless, can sometimes feel like a living death, a condition a "little worse" than the real world. What makes the film work despite its almost slavish devotion to its deadpan, Jarmuschian roots is its finely crafted contrasts — between [Patrick] Fugit‘s restrained performance and [Shea] Whigham‘s goofball pseudo-Russian, for example — and its whimsical attention to detail.

He concludes that "It’s a mannered movie whose vision is stark and whose emotions feel completely authentic, and for me at least that’s irresistible." "For a film about suicide, Wristcutters is agreeably loopy and game," adds Tasha Robinson at the Onion AV Club, who could have done with less novelty-cast Tom Waits and Will Arnett but who still finds that "it’s a surprisingly playful romantic drama, one less about death than about the quiet, necessary grind of living."

Shrugs Kristi Mitsuda at indieWIRE: "[T]aken for what it is–a romantic comedy road trip aspiring merely to fulfill its generic dictates — ‘Wristcutters’ mostly succeeds with its cleverly posthumous scenario." "The whole film is cracked, but in a stylish, downtown way," blurbs Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly. At the New York Times, A. O. Scott notes that "The Sundance Film Festival (where ‘Wristcutters’ first popped up in 2006, before vanishing into indie limbo) can be a breeding ground for studiously whimsical, willfully quirky films. ‘Wristcutters’ belongs to a rarer species: it is genuinely eccentric." He adds that "What makes it work is that the performers, trapped in a weird movie about a weird place, underplay their astonishment."

J. Hoberman at the Village Voice is less charmed by the way the film has quirkified its source material, Etgar Keret‘s 1998 novella "Kneller’s Happy Campers": "Dukic slaps the low-quirk label ‘love story’ on Keret’s melancholy fable. Yet, rather than betrayed, Keret feels embalmed. The movie is too well crafted: The visuals are insufficiently slapdash, Keret’s meandering narrative made linear and lugubrious." And Ed Gonzalez at Slant points out that underneath the afterlife setting, this "is that movie where some dorkus gets his heart broken by a girl who is way out of his league, falls in love with another hottie at the precise moment his old flame reenters the picture, and is forced to choose between the best of two pootangs."

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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