People Like Us - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 3 Old 10-10-12, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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People Like Us - Blu-ray Review

Title: People Like Us
Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Philip Baker Hall, Jon Favreau
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Studio: Dreamworks SKG
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 114 min
Blu-ray Release Date: October 2 2012

HTS Overall Score:


Sam (Chris Pine) is a smooth talking “facilitator” working in corporate barter; plainly put he’s a salesman who buys and sells overstock. His latest transaction though, shipping 100,000 cases of tomato bisque by train has resulted in a massive blunder; the perishable items didn’t take to the Mexican heat, expanding and then exploding leaving a pretty nasty mess. To avoid the Federal Trade Commission launching an investigation and slapping the company with violations, Sam’s boss Richards (Favreau) plans on bribing a higher-up who can stop this; unfortunately for Sam the money needed for this strategic transaction is going to be his most recent unclaimed five figure commission. Sam’s day doesn’t get any better when shortly after returning home his girlfriend Hannah (Wilde) sympathetically tells him his father, Jerry Harper just died. It’s a slow and initially confusing reveal that Sam’s relationship with his father was estranged and disconnected. The setup gets increasingly bewildering when Sam’s father’s attorney gives him a shaving kit bag filled with money and a note instructing him to deliver said money to one Josh Davis. Why not have the attorney (played by Baker Hall in a cameo appearance; by far one of my favourite elderly actors) deliver the money directly? I guess this way it adds flavour to the script and perhaps is in keeping with the opening statement announcing People Like Us is inspired by true events.

[imgl][/IMG/]The blunt cold instructions are hard to bear especially considering the contents of the bag so it’s not surprising that Sam isn’t too eager to quickly run out and deliver this load of cash to a total stranger; he’ll do some investigating first. Going to the address indicated in the note Sam discovers that Josh Davis is a young boy living with who is presumably his mother in a motel-type apartment. Continuing to stay incognito Sam follows the mother to an AA meeting where she announces her name, Frankie (Banks) at the podium and that she just learned her father Jerry Harper died. Stunned that he has a step-sister and that his father apparently had a second secret family puts a kink in Sam’s life, so rather than immediately honor his father’s wish he starts to get to know Frankie on a more personal level. I guess Sam’s intention is to morally evaluate her before he hands over the cashola, but whatever his motive is, it’s just a delay and you wonder how long he’ll keep the secret for. Sam postpones his return to New York City to spend more time with Frankie and Josh, but the closer the trio get, the more questions Frankie has about Sam’s past and how it’s strange that he won’t let her in on his family’s details.

Sam by no means comes off as a bad person, but his endgame is really the question at the core; why is he procrastinating with the truth?

People Like Us at its center is about family, but on a whole it’s a pretty busy movie with a few parallel sub plots that add nothing to the entire project. Sam’s mistake of shipping the tomato bisque by train instead of airplane to save the company money lingers and goes nowhere, so does his relationship with Hannah, both things just fizzle out and come to bland conclusions and both things unnecessarily eat up screen time because this movie is a good twenty-five minutes too long.

The acting is good in this movie with everyone offering up believable portrayals of their invented characters, but despite Michelle Pfeiffer as the distraught and emotionally torn widow struggling with her loss and Banks’s physical heart wrenching outburst, I personally was only slightly moved.


PG-13 for language, some drug use and brief sexuality.


People Like Us offers up a simple yet enjoyable soundtrack employing mostly a score that melds well with the scene as well as directing the mood and tone. The tone of the movie shifts a lot and the score moves with it accordingly, making its presence known even at a relatively low volume. All five speakers get a light workout with the subwoofer occasionally showing its might. Crisp and clear dialogue is consistently the focal point, as is usually the case with dramas. Environmental sounds like utensils being put away and glasses clinking are nicely prioritized to match the scene and other ambient noises are definitely noticeable without being intrusive. Outdoor sounds are natural and scattered throughout enhancing the authentic feel. The overall soundtrack is predictable for this genre with a good variety of mixtures.


The majority of what happens in People Like Us takes place indoors and for the most part these scenes look naturally lit, but scenes that develop in the evening occasionally look like they have a noticeable filter overlaid with skin tones being the most affected. In certain positions under certain lighting the characters’ faces have oranges tinges. In other settings facial detail is very high with wrinkles, pores and textures coming across crisp. Outdoor scenes are consistently bright with foliage and buildings nicely textured. Dark clothes usually keep their outline, but completely black items are consistently washed out. On a whole the picture in People Like Us doesn’t seem to have been tampered with too much with things popping when they should. There’s nothing outstanding with the entirety of the movie giving the viewer an average experience.


-Number One With A Bullet: The Story Behind People Like Us
-Feature Commentary
-Select Scene Commentary
-Taco Talk
-Deleted and Extended Scenes


Inspired by true events or not, because sometimes this statement is used quite liberally, the concept for People Like Us is somewhat original, but it falters in its lack of substance and tries to remedy this by using tens of minutes of filler and aggravating plot points; notably Sam prolonging the money handoff. I’m no script writer or editor, but I think this movie would have greatly benefited from a rewrite resulting in a much shorter running time. The best part of People Like Us comes in the last ten minutes and even those revealing minutes are so-so, making the wait definitely not worth the wait. Take a pass on this movie, it’s very forgettable.

Buy People Like Us on Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Pass!
Watch the Official Trailer

Last edited by Peter Rygiel; 10-23-12 at 12:38 PM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-10-12, 01:53 PM
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Re: People Like Us - Blu-ray review

Peter - the cover photo on the case has "not so good" written all over it! ;-)
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-10-12, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: People Like Us - Blu-ray review

Yah it's pretty cheese ball, it probably didn't help their sales or rental stats either.
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