What would you do if your parents died and left you alone? Most would grieve, move on with their lives and try to honor their parents by doing the best that they can. Phineas Chase (Scott R. Wright) did quite the opposite, however. On the precipice of college, he chose to shut himself in his house…and not leave for 20 years.
On the cusp of his 40th birthday, his adopted brother Jack (Matthew Sutherland) shows up in an effort to rescue Phineas from himself and finally get him out of the house. Phineas does not welcome his brother’s return as they couldn’t be more opposite. Jack is a playboy doctor who has flourished in his years since their parents’ deaths. His presence disrupts everything that Phineas has come to know and have as routine.
When Jack sees Phineas leering at his exceedingly attractive neighbor Lena (Shazia Ali) outside stretching before a run, Jack decides to use her to woo Phineas outside. Jack eventually brings Lena over for dinner, playing the hospitable host, but it ends up in predictable fashion as Phineas has no people skills after his years as a shut-in.
They even resort to bringing self-help expert, Dr. Edwards (Frank Ashmore), to help. This is one point where I think the film really starts to stray. Dr. Edwards utilizes a religious infused method, and the tone shifts to a more religious direction. It was a little too much for me, and it certainly was for those in the crowd with me. When Artistic Director Tim Irwin held an impromptu Q&A session after the screening, the mostly retired crowd were quick to jump on this point. It was perceived by most as a glaring weakness in the film and one I certainly agree with. That it maintained this tone for the rest of the film was equally as puzzling.
The film meanders along using a structure that has been overutilized many times before. The film opens and closes with a funeral (parts of it intermittently sprinkled into the second and third acts), it being the actual act that finally gets Phineas out of the house. As necessary for a comedy, however, the circumstances of the funeral aren’t how they seem. I don’t know if the payoff is worth the effort, however. One of the better parts in this film is when Phineas gets dressed to finally step out into the real world to attend the funeral. Check it out:
I will also add that I was confounded by the gag reel and “extra” scene played during and after the credits. The “extra” scene wasn’t funny and played out an already overused gag from the film. My advice to the filmmakers would be to cut it all together.
Ultimately, this film doesn’t deliver the comedy goods. Not every comedy does. It does have a heart buried in there, and I think it could find an audience if marketed to the right demographics.
You can watch a few different trailers here.