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Writer-director Kurt Voelker has confected a dramedy heartwarmer about a middle-aged widower who, along with his son, makes a fresh start in a new city and finds himself starting on the painful process of dating at exactly the same time as his teenage boy – who is grieving his lost mom. It’s the sort of story that might have worked over the longer lifespan of series television, but here it’s hugely syrupy and contrived with some borderline ridiculous cathartic confrontations and outrageous flashback images of that departed mother who is basically pretty hot, a saint and a talented artist.
JK Simmons plays the single dad, Bill, and Josh Wiggins plays his son, Wes, with a hopeless crush on his study partner Lacy (Odeya Rush), who despite her Instagram princess image is secretly self-harming and in dire need of the kind of gentle sympathy that Wes can provide, if she did but know it. Fortunately, she comes to know it quickly enough.
These two were put together by their French teacher, Carine (Julie Delpy), who is in turn beguiled by Bill, that adorable lonely bear of a man. The moments of enforced intimacy are handled competently enough and Voelker’s script hits all the accepted beats. But this is the sort of material that is left very exposed by something like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which also brought the coming-of-age trope into parallel with the parent/child relationship and did so with wit and flair. She pulled off the trick of convincing you that what happened in the film might actually happen to human beings in the real world, as opposed to carefully relatable characters cultivated in a screenplay lab. Simmons brings a certain ballast to the film.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Bachelors review – father joins son on a queasy quest for romance | Romance films