Independent film may still technically be independent, but it’s far from the wellspring of creativity that it’s advertised as being. Case in point: Hello I Must Be Going, a film that fills its arrested development bingo card with a cynical efficiency that would make Jerry Bruckheimer blush. A number of talented actors (particularly the under-rated Melanie Lynskey) give it their best, but Hello deviates so little from the template set forth by previous ‘man-child’ hits that it never develops a life of its own.
Amy (Lynskey) finds herself at a familiar crossroads; broke, divorced, and living at home well after most people her age have attained some form of self-sufficiency. Her father Stan (John Rubinstein) is fairly understanding (mostly out of nostalgia for their time spent watching Marx Brothers film in her youth, from which the film gets its title), but her mother Ruth (Blythe Danner) is an unrepentant nag, constantly harping on her shortcomings. Her high-brow, New Yorker-reading Connecticut community doesn’t afford many opportunities for someone as directionless as Amy, but she finds some solace in Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), a 19-year-old actor going through his Ben Braddock phase.
Hello I Must Be Going isn't a bad film, as it tries too little to truly fail in a visible way. But because it wears its indie cred so ostentatiously on its sleeve (Ruth comically mispronounces the word 'anti-depressant'), it's perhaps even more discouraging than if it were. Amy's journey of self-acceptance mirrors those of many protagonists who refuse to accept maturity (though to be fair, Hello at least had the invention to switch the usual gender roles), though it lacks the self-effacing humor that someone like Jason Segel or Seth Rogen would have brought to it. For all its frequent attempts at comedy (and its cartoonish division of the adult world into the apathetic and the impossibly square), Hello is deadly earnest, which only makes its lack of invention that much more obvious.
The disc contains an interview with director Louiso and screenwriter Koskoff, a Melanie Lynskey interview with journalist David Poland, and the theatrical trailer.
"Hello I Must Be Going" is on sale January 29, 2013 and is rated R. Drama. Directed by Todd Louiso. Written by Sarah Koskoff. Starring Blythe Danner, Melanie Lynskey, John Rubinstein, Christopher Abbott.