Arlen Faber (2009)

Written & Directed by John Hindman

I had Jeff Daniels as the lead and Olivia Thirlby in a small role, so I wanted to check it out. What I heard about what it was about, I was also interested. Daniels plays a man who has written the most famous and influential book on God in the last 25 years, but has become a recluse. We see him 20 years after he wrote his famous book, Me & God, and he is a disgruntled man who does not like being the famous Arlen Faber. People describe him as a man who wrote Me & God but did not read it. He does not take his own advise. Until he meets a nice single mom who is a chiropractor (Lauren Graham) and a used bookstore owner (Lou Taylor Pucci), who is probably the strongest character in the film.

The film does not seem natural. The choices that the characters make, the progression of the story, they do not seem rational. There are some redeeming qualities, like Tony Hale, an obvious comic relief as the mailman, but still funny nonetheless. And although Kat Dennings, for whom I have a general disdain is in it, she is not in it for long, a good thing. The major problem I had with it was that by the time we are supposed to care about any of the characters, we have not yet even been told why we should.

The dialogue, the acting, it was all dull and stale really. When it tried to be dramatic it was overly so. I wish this could have been so much more because the people involved and the general idea for the plot indicate that it would at least be decent. To its credit, there are multiple funny lines, but they are superfluous and add nothing to the actual film. Well, at least now I know.

** – Poor

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