I hate the term dramedy—it discounts the potential for humor in any drama, and movies designated as dramedies typically follow the rigid Terms of Endearment template of laughs in the first half, tears in the second. But this debut feature by Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly gives dramedy a good name: the story is both painful and rudely funny all the way through, often because the situations are so dire that humor is the characters' only escape. A gay comedy writer living in New York (Jesse Plemons) returns home to Sacramento to care for his terminally ill mother (Molly Shannon) and clash with his homophobic father (Bradley Whitford). Cancer and coming out aren't exactly fresh topics for an indie film, but here they have the authenticity of lived experience, and both Shannon and Plemons are exceptional.
By J.R. Jones