Ceremony: A Callow Movie About Callowness
Sam (Michael Angarano), a young kids-book author, suckers his neglected childhood best friend, Marshall (Reece Thompson), into driving them out of Brooklyn. Romantic egotist Sams hidden ulterior motive behind their impromptu vacation is to ambush old flame Zoe (Uma Thurman) at her fiancés posh shore housewhere he unexpectedly discovers Zoe hosting her own wedding party. The antecedents to Max Winklers debut feature, with its melancholy-whimsical sentimental education, soundtrack cues, and kitsch safari films from Zoes husband-to-be (Lee Pace), are obvious. Ceremony is clearly under the influence of Wes Anderson, while at one point Sam gives Marshall a stolen present inlaid with the initials N.B.a confession to Noah Baumbach? Ceremony is a callow movie: Winkler exhibits no comprehension of the class anxieties he addresses, and extends precocity into adulthood. That callowness is Ceremonys subject scarcely makes it funnier. There are able supporting performances by Pace and, as Zoes ever-squiffed brother, Jake Johnson, but Angarano and Thompsontheir physical type, delivery, vocal tone, and timing barely distinguishablefail to endear as a duo. They begin the weekend at a blithely clacking clip and end it slowed by self-knowledge, exhaling not one quotable line at either speed.
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