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Review: Liberal Arts

By JAKE MULLIGAN  |  September 25, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars

Multi-hyphenate Josh Radnor (star of How I Met Your Mother; he writes, stars, and directs here) has undeniable talent behind the camera. But his films — first the obnoxiously titled Happythankyoumoreplease, and now this sophomore effort — are hobbled by his own humorless performances. He stars as Jesse, a brooding thirtysomething carrying around a mid-life crisis caused by a trip to his alma matter in Ohio and seemingly cured by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl played by Elizabeth Olsen (she teaches him about the healing power of hugs, and how Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are "no joke"). The script is strong, slowly revealing surprises that subvert the aforementioned clichés. And as a director, for better or worse, Radnor steals a lot from Woody Allen (particularly Manhattan) — long takes with smooth camerawork, first-person voiceover, an interest in neurotic men's fascination with younger women, even the use of cityscape montages set to classical music. If only he could replicate the wit.

  Topics: Reviews , How I Met Your Mother, Liberal Arts, Liberal Arts,  More more >
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