The Stand Up (NR)

Drama December 31, 1969
By Nick Schager
For a film about a stand-up comedian to be mirthless is dispiriting; more problematic, however, is that The Stand Up doesn't make up for that absence of humor with any legitimate drama. A year after his beloved girlfriend Miranda (Julia Dennis) is killed, up-and-coming funnyman Zoe (Jonathan Sollis) still hasn't recovered. His path to healing, though, is made Easy-Bake simple by writer/director David Wexler, who first has the protagonist land a temporary kindergarten teaching gig thanks to his school-principal father (Aidan Quinn) and then at that job has him meet perfect-match Veronica (Margarita Levieva), who also has past issues with romantic abandonment. Zoe thus becomes a passive participant in his own healing, which Wexler leaves so uncomplicated that the story simply coasts along on a smooth path to happily ever after. Meanwhile, save for Zoe's contentious back-and-forths with a student's bitchy mother, comedy is largely absent, as any Bad News Bears–style adult-kid ridiculousness is avoided. Wexler's most insightful scene finds Zoe, through working with children, positively altering the sad memory associated with a pair of carpentry goggles. Regrettably, it's impossible for the film or its star to do little more than recall other recent comedies and performers: the superior School of Rock for one and, via the portly Sollis's eerily similar voice, Jonah Hill
Jonathan Sollis, Margarita Levieva, Aidan Quinn, Jonathan Reed Wexler, Arija Bareikis, Julia Dennis, Justine Cotsonas, Quinn Broggy, Jennifer Mudge, Bryanna Adames

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