Verdict: 1.5 / 5
Are You Here is actually quite a sterling example of how to fail when everything seems set up to create success.
The director is known for his work on Mad Men and the Sopranos, the theme is about finding your place in the world, the actors are placed in roles that they are not only perfect for, but roles they have done before very well. And yet, Are You Here is pretty awful in every way.
Steve (Wilson) is an irresponsible trickster who flirts his way from one affair to another, never really lasting long in any profession. His only redeeming quality is the care he gives to his socially incompetent friend Ben (Galifianakis), even though mostly all the two do together is smoke weed and laze around. One day, Steve drives Ben up to Ben’s father’s funeral, where surprisingly, the majority of the farm and the inheritance are given to Ben, over his sister Terry (Amy Poehler). Faced with an enormous amount of wealth and land for the first time ever, Steve and Ben work together to figure out exactly how to give their lives some meaning.
The first major problem with the film is that despite being a comedy, it’s not really funny at any point. The characters are pitiable at best and obnoxious at worst, and spend most of the film crying or high. There’s no real tension and the plot feels very self-indulgent. The theme is universal, but has been done before in far better ways than this, and this film doesn’t really offer anything new on the subject. The starring cast doesn’t do much to alleviate it either.
If released as a low budget indie, Are You Here would be mediocre at best. With all the chances it had, it can only be considered a mistake in execution on every level.