There are skeletons aplenty cluttering up one family’s closet in Alex Kurtzman’s semi-autobiographical drama.
Elizabeth Banks is the ballsy single parent, who has ricocheted from one unedifying relationship to the next while Michelle Pfeiffer embraces her role as a steely matriarch, who greets the return of her selfish son Sam with a swift, stinging slap across the face.
Sam (Chris Pine) is a fast-talking salesman, who cuts corners to maximise profit. Estranged from his family, when he hears his father has died from cancer, his girlfiend makes the necessary arrangements to ensure he attends the funeral in Los Angeles.
The reunion with his mother Lillian (Pfeiffer) is tense and to rub salt into Sam’s old wounds, he inherits nothing more than his father’s vinyl collection and old leather shaving bag.
Inside, Sam discovers $150,000 and instructions to deliver the money to someone called Josh Davis. Sam heads to a motel where he finds troubled 11-year-old Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario), whose single mother Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) is a recovering alcoholic.
She conceals a secret that rocks Sam’s world and forces him to re-evaluate his priorities.
People Like Us begins at a brisk pace, but sadly the directorial debut from the Star Trek screenwriter treads water for too long before lighting a fuse on the emotional fireworks that detonate in the final 30 minutes.