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Peace, Love & Misunderstanding

by on October 3, 2012
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A good idea gone boring, this city mouse with hippie mom tale manages to make Catherine Keener unlikable.

Riddle me this: when a successful New York City lawyer is left by her husband, wouldn’t she find a hotel, sublet an apartment, stay at a friend’s place or maybe, just maybe, stay in the apartment with her two teenage children? Why on earth would she traverse – with two nearly-grown kids in tow – to upstate New York, to stay with the mother she hasn’t spoken to in two decades? And why, after foisting herself and her kids (whom their grandmother didn’t know existed) onto the poor aging hippie, would said successful lawyer-turned-moocher then openly criticize the lifestyle and act agog when she sees a protest taking place? (Take it from anyone who lives in a major city: protests happen all the time. They aren’t limited to Woodstock.)

The above burning questions are precisely what makes “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” not only mediocre, but downright contrived and unbelievable. Catherine Keener, normally a lovely and relatable presence (occasionally a fun acerbic villain), is just nasty here as the very judgmental now-single mother. Any other character, from Jane Fonda’s freewheeling pot farmer to Elizabeth Olsen’s confidently liberal college freshman to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s breezy musician/carpenter would have made a better protagonist.

Also, though he is pretty to look at, I don’t believe Chace Crawford as a chain-smoking butcher any more than I believed him as a food truck owner in “What to Expect While You’re Expecting”.

“Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” has all the right ingredients — fish out of water, clash of old and the new, mother and daughter reconnecting, fringed vests — but none of the follow-through. Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Olsen are able actresses with seemingly awful management. Let’s put them in a better film, shall we Hollywood?

2.5 Yaps