"Brief Interviews with Hideous Men"
One star and a half
By Gary Buiso
Academic research gives way to self-realization in “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” an uneven, rarely revelatory film content — or simply unable — to transcend the far superior source material.
The film, by writer-director John Krasinski (“The Office”) revolves around the series of interviews conducted by doctoral candidate Sara Quinn (Julianne Nicholson), wounded by her own fractured relationship. Studying “the effects of the feminist movement” can best be accomplished by looking at men, she reasons.
The men, including characters played by Ben Gibbard of the band Death Cab for Cutie and Will Arnett of Saturday Night Live, candidly/awkwardly discuss various aspects of their relationships with women. When one subject veers off course to discuss his father’s career as a bathroom attendant, it is poignant, but completely misplaced.
Nicholson is fine as the lead, but her castmates labor to keep up. Krasinski is adequate as a director, but clearly struggles to reign in the overly earnest soliloquies — including his own.
As presented here, the confessions are hardly hideous — they are simply banal.
“Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” is not more than the sum of its parts. “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.” Running time: 80 minutes. Unrated. With Julianne Nicholson, Ben Shenkman. Timothy Hutton, John Krasinski, Benjamin Gibbard, Michael Cerveris, and Corey Stoll.