The Trouble With Bliss


As today’s cinema continues to make plain, no issue is more vital to the state of civilization than the fate of electively unemployed thirtysomething white dudes who can’t get out of bed in the morning. Such, as the title indicates, is the trouble with Morris Bliss (Michael C. Hall), a slovenly 35-year-old bookworm who lives with his grumpy father (Peter Fonda) in the East Village. Although he dreams of international travel, of walking in the footsteps of Orwell and Bowles, he never even leaves the neighborhood. Yet after being seduced by both a precocious teen (Brie Larson) and a nympho neighbor (Lucy Liu) over one long weekend, Morris starts to take a more active role in his own life, even venturing beyond the bodega to an actual supermarket for groceries. The tiredness of its conceit aside, the film manages to ingratiate thanks to a script (adapted by Douglas Light and director Michael Knowles, from Light’s novel) that pleasantly ping-pongs from one digressive dialogue to another and a persuasive performance by Hall, whose natural charisma peeks through Morris’s dour facade just enough to make him appealing. Even when circumstances and supporting turns slide into quirk and farce, Hall never angles for an easy laugh. He’s neither hopeless nor a hero, just another guy who should get his shit together.

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