Cinema Review: Standing Up, Falling Down | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, April 20th, 2024  

Standing Up, Falling Down

Studio: Shout! Studios
Directed by Matt Ratner

Feb 18, 2020 Web Exclusive
Bookmark and Share

After falling flat in his attempt at a standup career in Los Angeles, 34-year-old Scott (Ben Schwartz) heads back home to Long Island with his tail between his legs. Defeated and broke, he has to move back in with his parents while he tries to get his bearing again, collect himself, and figure out what he wants to do with his life. Most of his friends are married, or have jobs and children, having left him behind on the path to adulthood. He soon find a new best pal in the form of his 65-year-old, alcoholic dermatologist, Marty (Billy Crystal), a man estranged from his own grown family and with seemingly so little going on in his life that his new friendship with a young, failed comedian might be the best thing that’s happened to him in years.

This dramedy is at its best when it puts its central, mismatched pair in the same place and allows Schwartz’ and Crystal’s shared chemistry to percolate. Their two characters are funnier—and ring more true—when they’re together, smoking weed in a parked car or drinking a few too many beers in a crowded bar, than on their own. Each has their own regrets that need grappling with, be they Marty’s alienation of his offspring or Scott’s unresolved feelings for the girlfriend who got away, his relationship with his parents, or the realization that his comedy dreams may never line up with reality. They spend a good deal of time giving each other courage to face these problems (alongside lots of respectful ribbing), but in every case the planning is more entertaining than the execution. The issue seems to be that the objects of their frustrations—the ex-girlfriend, the gruff dad, the angry kids—get so little screen time, they render as little more than the heroes’ projections of them than living, breathing characters. When too many comedies run overlong, this is a rare one that might have benefitted from an extra 10 minutes to develop its tertiary cast.

Still, the movie gives off a very casual vibe, and the writing—especially the banter between the unlikely besties—is often sharp. The movie is more than enjoyable, but you can’t help but think about what might have been had the people who surround them been as well-rounded as its two leads.


Author rating: 5/10

Rate this movie
Average reader rating: 5/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.