Sometimes it's hard to describe what makes you pick up a movie and give it a try. It could be the star, or the director, even the story. In the age of digital movie watching, I think our reasons become even more ambiguous. I was looking for something to watch the other day and stumbled upon People Like Us. I know I get to watch a lot romantic comedies so this was likely in my wheel house, though it's definitely not a comedy. Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks were what drew me in - and a trailer run before something else I saw months ago. The ad made it look like they they had chemistry, but then made you think a mystery was afoot. So I got sucked in. Thankfully the movie was much better than that.
Sam (Chris Pine) works in the barter business (he buys a stack of lumber and trades it for 600 cans of soup) for Jon Favreau. He makes one mistake that gets him in trouble on the same day he gets a call that his father died. His girlfriend, Hannah (Olivia Wilde - who is getting better now that I know she can act after seeing Butter), urges him to attend the funeral, and while they miss the first flight, leaving his mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) to sit alone, they do finally make it home. Sam hated his dad and rarely went home before, so he's REALLY pissed when his dad leaves what little money they had to a stranger, Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario, and less than annoying 10-year-old). Sam goes to figure out who this guy is and figures out that Josh's mom, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) is his half sister. He befriends Frankie and they kind of hit it off - though surprisingly in a platonic kind of way (thankfully) with lots of fun, teasing banter.
Yes, you can see the shit is going to hit the fan because Sam doesn't tell Frankie that they're siblings right away. And you can see that Sam is going to find a way back to being part of a family again, and probably forgive his father. But the journey of this film is still worth the price of admission (or download). It's funny when it needs to be, believable and genuine the rest of the time. Definitely predictable, but I still enjoyed it.