In this entertaining US comedy, celebrity lifestyle TV show host Erasmus (Steve Coogan) and his director/life partner Paul (Paul Rudd) are a perpetually squabbling couple forced to adjust their hedonistic lifestyle by the abrupt arrival of a pint-sized relative requiring care.Erasmus’s estranged grown son has just been thrown in jail, leaving the self-obsessed celebrity to look after the sullen grandson he didn’t know he had.
An adult suddenly being landed with a child to care for (and usually being changed in the process) is a familiar movie scenario from as far back as 1921 and Charlie Chaplin’s silent era film The Kid. In the 1990s it became popular among international filmmakers with the likes of Kolya (Czech Republic) and the Oscar-nominated Central Station (Brazil) and more recently by the wonderfully deadpan Kiwi comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
One of the secrets behind the best of these films is that they draw on a rich sense of place and quirks of character to create unique stories from what might easily have been over-familiar elements. And so it goes with writer-director Andrew Fleming, who pumps plenty of individuality into this tale set against New Mexico’s distinctive adobe-and-desert backdrop.
Is it worth mentioning that Fleming...