Gus is a movie which tries very hard, but doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. Attempting to be a dramedy about dysfunctional friends going through a stressful period together, we instead get unlikable figures who hardly make us laugh, and hardly make us cry.
Lizzie (Radha Mitchell) is a straight-laced, married woman who really wants a child but can’t conceive. One day, her free-spirited friend Andie (Michelle Monaghan) gets pregnant after a one night stand, and offers to carry the baby to term before giving it to Lizzie and her husband Peter. Complications abound when Lizzie wants to move in for the duration, and another character is brought to the mix in the form of Peter’s drug rehab brother, who now needs a place to stay. The primary focus however is on the two woman and their straining friendship as the film goes on.
There’s clearly meant to be some sort of message about how Andie may come across as extremely annoying compared to Lizzie, but that actually she’s still very sweet and has some admirable qualities that Lizzie should try and emulate. However, I didn’t quite get that. Andie works as a character in a movie, where she can be weird and quirky and fun, but whenever you try to make her realistic, she would get extremely annoying extremely quickly. All the characters in fact are quite unpleasant, and in a character driven piece, this doesn’t help the quality of your work.
The comedic moments in Gus aren’t very funny, and the drama is carried by people not equipped to make us care enough. The character I had the most sympathy for was the unborn baby stuck between this, so that should say it all. We could use more movies focusing on the relationship between two female friends, but I didn’t quite feel it with Gus.