(director/writer:Trent O’Donnell; screenwriter: Jake Johnson; cinematographer: Judd Overton; editor: Daniel Haworth; music: Jeff Cardoni; cast:  Susan Sarandan (Honey), D’Arcy Carden (Audrey), Jake Johnson (Leif), J.K. Simmons (Carl), Eric Edelstein (Officer Mike Nilson), Cleo King (Missy), Luis Fernandez-Gil (Gorka), Billy Bungeroth (Hiker); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; D’Arcy Carden, Joe Hardesty, Jake Johnson, Trent O ‘Donnell, Huey Park, Huey M. Park: Decal/JTJ Films; 2021)

“A genial comedy even if it never delivers much of a punch.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The star Jake Johnson wrote the sweet comedy, put together too conveniently with familiar movie tropes for my taste. But it’s a genial comedy even if it never delivers much of a punch. Johnson co-wrote it with the long-time TV director Trent O’Donnell. It’s a life lessons comedy of a grown man learning how to grow up and be an adult (ugh! so many other films took this path).

The 40-year-old Leif (Jake Johnson) is a Los Angeles living bachelor__a slacker and hedonist of simple pleasures, like smoking weed. The conga drum player lives in a woodlands cabin on the back premises of his band leader pal (Luis Fernandez-Gil).

The middle-aged laid-back dude
grew up on his own when his hippy mother Honey (Susan Sarandon) left him when he was a child. When she dies of cancer, he learns from a visit by an acquaintance (Cleo King) his estranged mom left the ‘man child’ a ‘conditional inheritance’. To get her picturesque Yosemite cabin, Leif must do a laundry list of things that she put on video before dying.

Thereby Leif and his pet black Lab, Nora, work together to do what mom wants.  One such item on the list is
to “Express Yourself.” It involves doing something with a canoe, as well as breaking and entering. By doing the list in the spirit it was intended, Leif learns things about mom he never knew and more about himself, as he goes through a period of great self-discovery.

REVIEWED ON 10/10/2021  GRADE: B-