Actress Reese Holden has been offered a small fortune by a book editor if she can secure for publication the love letters that her father, a reclusive novelist, wrote to her mother, who has since passed away. Returning to Michigan, Reese finds that an ex-grad student and a would-be musician have moved in with her father, who cares more about his new friends than he does about his own health and well-being.
User Reviews: Greetings again from the darkness. When writers attempt to tackle too many themes in one story, usually none are complete. Writer and Director Adam Rapp (brother Anthony is of "Rent" fame and has a brief cameo in this one) is extremely ambitious as he explores parenthood, artistic genius, friendship, community, guilt and the desire to feel love and pain. Surprisingly Rapp is mostly successful in pulling off a most complex script.
Ed Harris stars as a reclusive writer with more than a nod to J.D. Salinger (his last name is Holden … get it?). In poor health and being taken care of by a former student (Amelia Warner) and a broken down rhythm guitarist (Will Ferrell), Harris is taken aback when his long lost daughter (Zooey Deschanel) shows up one day. Drastically altering the dynamics of this bizarre little community, Deschanel literally steals the film. She spills her soul on screen and we somehow understand her habit of slamming her hand in a drawer just to feel something. She is a pitiful person seeking redemption and her place in life.
Harris and Warner are fine in their roles, but Ferrell is a real distraction. As a viewer, we don’t see the character. We see Will Ferrell on screen … acting goofy and clumsily mumbling his lines. His open mike night could easily have been an SNL skit. This movie would have been much better with a straight forward actor in this role. That said, I still have faith Ferrell will succeed as a dramatic actor. If Robin Williams could make the transition, surely Elf can.
If you might enjoy multi-layered story telling, a tremendous performance by Zooey and can look past Will Ferrell, this movie has a lot to offer.