Review: Ed Helms and Patti Harrison make a perfect platonic match in 'Together Together'

Review: Ed Helms and Patti Harrison make a perfect platonic match in 'Together Together'

4/23/2021 9:48:00 AM

Review: Ed Helms and Patti Harrison make a perfect platonic match in 'Together Together'

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison star in 'Together Together,' about a middle-aged man and the young woman he hires as a gestational surrogate.

.The prodding inquiries — “Have you ever stolen anything?” “Are you religious?” “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” — that open Nikole Beckwith’s modest, charming dramedy “Together Together” don’t spring from a painfully intrusive first date. Rather, as an open Anna (Patti Harrison) spills her proclivity for thieving pens and her experience of putting her baby up for adoption while in high school to a perplexed Matt (Ed Helms), she’s interviewing to become his surrogate.

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“This appeals to me because I know it’s not the best thing in the world, being alone,” rambles Anna, as a piano’s inviting notes stutter to a comedic stop. Helms’ expressive reactions, delivered with aplomb, interlock delightfully with Harrison’s wry appeal.

For Matt, Anna represents his third attempt at fatherhood — his previous eight-year relationship came to naught and Beckwith’s slight script never divulges the other try. Either way, Matt desperately wants this bid to succeed. You get the feeling that the 26-year old Anna might be his last chance.

AdvertisementThe simple set-up, which sees Harrison, a transgender actress cast in a cisgender role, allows for fascinating subversions of the rom-com frame while remaining familiar at its core. Seeing disparate individuals brought together by chance, empathizing despite their differing backgrounds, is one of the things that draws us to films. The easeful, unvarnished rapport Helms and Harrison generate through their touching performances is the steady cradle to this brisk two-hander.

The lonesome humor and hurt propelling “Together Together” splinters the film from other examples in the growing subgenre of meditative fertility narratives. Beckwith’s caustic tone diverges from Jeremy Hersh’s “The Surrogate,” wherein the titled surrogate learns her baby tested positive for Down syndrome, leading to a morally complicated choice. Tamara Jenkins’ intimate dark-comedy, “Private Life,” mines a couple’s long struggle with fertility to elucidate the ways such endless battles wear down its resilient participants. The love burrowing inside “Together Together” is platonic, and the separate lifelong disappointments felt by Anna and Matt are shared but less entangled.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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