A missing Influence Character perspective weakens an otherwise funny film.
Really funny. Lightweight. But lacking just a bit in the structure department--something that would have been so easy to fix and perhaps would have saved this film from its eventual obscurity.
Unlike Date Night, this comedic offering from 2010 offers up an extremely strong Main Character throughline. Olive (Emma Stone) balances her reputation with the needs of the downtrodden, starting with the classic closeted gay high school student, Brandon (Dan Byrd). The white lie that starts the Objective Story escalates to all-out scandal as it explores the problems that can come from pretending to be something you are not.
What is lacking, unfortunately, is a consistent and structurally coherent Influence Character. Brandon starts out fulfilling that role, but for some strange reason, completely disappears for the lion's share of the 2nd Act and almost all of the third. Structurally this is a travesty, but storytelling-wise it was nice knowing we weren't going to have to sit through the same old story again.
Woodchuck Todd (Penn Badgley) comes in to take over, but it happens so late in the story, that their impending romance seems convenient and forced. Thematically it doesn't tie the whole thing together (which is what that relationship is supposed to do).
Overall though, super enjoyable. Any opportunity to spend time in Ojai, if only for 90 minutes, is time well spent.