A Happening of Monumental Proportions (R)

Comedy 81 min. September 21, 2018
By Abbey Bender
A Happening of Monumental Proportions, the directorial debut of actress Judy Greer, is the kind of indie-pop scored, sunny, lightweight comedy we've seen many times before. The slightly novel story concerns seemingly random characters whose relationships to one another get gradually revealed through a series of increasingly eye roll-inducing trials and tribulations. These included but are not limited to figuring out what to do with a dead body, dealing with office politics and, most annoyingly, proposing dick-measuring contests. These scenarios don't add up to much, and the film feels not unlike a sitcom.

The ensemble cast, featuring such capable stars as Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford, is weighed down by stilted dialogue and an insistent avoidance of any emotional high stakes -- which is somewhat weird given the aforementioned corpse. Greer has brought humor and charm to a number of supporting roles over the years, and it's a shame that little of this energy is channeled here. The film runs under an hour and 20 minutes, and with all these characters and happenings, it's hard to get any real foothold on the action. At the end, initially disparate events come together in a mildly satisfying way, but Greer would be better served by a story with a narrower scope, one that might let us actually know some of these people. There's a nerd, a businessman, a depressed guy and a no-nonsense woman, but there's little more to the archetypes than any of that. It's no spoiler to say that the happening is anything but monumental after all.
Judy Greer Common, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Anders Holm, Storm Reid, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Garner, John Cho, Rob Riggle, Kumail Nanjiani Gary Lundy Great Point Media

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