Together Together

Rating:

Happy Birthday

Main Cast: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison

Director: Nikole Beckwith

It’s hard to play an unlikable character on a long-running show without being typecast. The example that always comes to mind is Larry Linville, who played Frank Burns on M*A*S*H. I could never imagine him as anyone else, which is too bad because imagine the talent it took to play Frank Burns!

I feared that Ed Helms might fall into the same unfortunate trap after playing Andy Bernard on The Office. We weren’t supposed to like Andy, and in general we didn’t. Does that mean we’ll never like Ed Helms?

Fortunately, it does not, because he is wonderful in Together Together. This is the story of a middle aged man looking for a surrogate to bear his child. Matt is single and has decided that he’s ready to be a father. He has an anonymous egg donator, now he’s interviewing potential surrogates.

His interview with Anna (Patti Harrison) is not exactly smooth, but it doesn’t seem that he’s drowning in applicants for the position. The two embark on the rocky road to his eventual parenthood.

I like this premise. There are a lot of ways they could have done Together Together. They chose to focus on the relationship between Matt and Anna, two isolated people brought together by this intense experience. We get to know them both as we (and they) realize that they don’t have many people in their lives.

I hate to use the term “unlikely friendship” because it’s so corny, but that’s what they have. Their relationship has endless dead ends and snags and boundaries, and Together Together doesn’t shy away from looking at them head on. There’s a real charm in watching them fumble through this pregnancy together.

The script is beautifully written and both Helms and Harrison are terrific. Their banter, sometimes light and sometimes very weighty, feels authentic. There are a few supporting players who add quite a lot of silliness (Julio Torres is a marvel) but this is mostly a film about two people. I like both of them and I’m glad I joined them on this journey.

Together Together is a terrific little indie gem, the kind I’m always hoping to find. It’s streaming on Hulu and available on Netflix DVD.

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