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With: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, John Rubinstein, Julie White, Christopher Abbott, Andrea Bordeaux, Sara Chase, Tori Feinstein, Dan Futterman, Dave T. Koenig, Eli Koskoff, Greta Lee, Meera Simhan, Jimmi Simpson, Andreina Sosa-Keifer
Written by: Sarah Koskoff
Directed by: Todd Louiso
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 95
Date: 01/19/2012

Hello I Must Be Going (2012)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Marx for Excellence

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Melanie Lynskey has deserved a lead role for a long time now. For years she has been hitting grand slams in supporting and character roles, even in non-sympathetic roles like Win Win or the current The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She has become one of those reliable names and faces wherein you think, "Oh... Melanie Lynskey's in this. It can't be half bad."

I just wish that lead role had been in something slightly better than Hello I Must Be Going. Oh... it's fine. It has plenty of little moments for a great actress to shine. It's just not very deep, or particularly fresh.

The director is Todd Louiso, who is also known as a character actor; he worked in the record store alongside John Cusack and Jack Black in High Fidelity, and he was mistaken for the pop star Moby in School for Scoundrels. He made his feature directing debut with the extraordinary Love Liza (2002).

Perhaps Louiso is at the mercy of his screenplays. This new one, by Sarah Koskoff, has a case of the indie cutes. It pretends to be edgy, but it relies far too often on slapstick and broad situations to be terribly interesting.

The main character is Amy, a recent divorcee who, in her situation, was the dumpee. She has retreated to live with her parents, Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan (John Rubinstein). She sleeps, wallows in a ratty t-shirt, watches TV, and just tries to kill the time and the pain.

Her father is negotiating a business deal that requires a fancy dinner at the house. She dresses up and tries to come out of her shell, but the evening is not quite a smashing success. However, the potential business partners have brought their 19 year-old son, a successful actor, Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), who thinks Amy is interesting, and sexy.

The divorcee and the younger man begin a passionate affair, trying to keep it a secret from all the parents, as if they were in high school. This of course leads to many situations in which they are nearly caught, as well as rushed, silly explanations serve to placate the clueless grownups. And, of course, it also leads to Amy's self-realization that she, too, is a human being worthy of love.

The sheer talent of Louiso mixed with Lynskey manage a couple of gut-busting moments -- especially a dinner table conversation wherein Ruth casually announces that Jeremy is gay -- as well as a few poignant ones, but for the most part, Hello I Must Be Going -- named after a song sung by Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers -- is fairly routine. Let's just hope it's successful enough that it leads to more opportunities for the wonderful Ms. Lynskey.

It appears that Oscilloscope has only released this on DVD (no Blu-ray). On the plus side, though, their recycled cardboard package contains some lovely artwork. Extras include an interview with director Louiso and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff, and journalist David Poland interviews actress Lynskey. The disc also comes with a trailer.

Best Buy Co, Inc.