The Trouble with Bliss is punted as a comedic tale, but despite a few witticisms it is more of an awkward drama filled with random moments and inane dialogue.
Morris Bliss (Michael C. Hall) is 35, living with his father, unemployed, sleeping with a teenager and generally completely aimless. The story, thin enough as it is, is terribly drawn out and the characters and their relationships slowly established. The repetition used to emphasise Morris’s routine just adds to the monotony. We venture along with Morris as he tries to find some purpose in his life and the film tries to find some purpose in its plot – these moments oddly punctuated with a jarring Greek soundtrack, which is only explained later on. Morris is such a dullard that it is difficult to feel anything for him and the dimly lit scenes serve no other purpose than to allow him to wallow in his misery.
It all sounds rather dismal, but it does have lighter moments, albeit random scenes with pointless characters that add very little. There is a slight attempt at bringing in the theme of parent-child relationships, but it does not come to much. Morris’s father continually badgers him about buying the groceries and at times it feels like this is all the film is about. There is another lovely theme that is not explored, which is Morris’s love of literature. It is charmingly introduced in the beginning and only touched on once more after that, instead of interspersing it though the story and making the character and story richer. Lucy Liu’s part is also fairly fruitless and feels like a bit of a time-filler. She is quite fun to watch though and offers a welcome contrast to Morris’s grim demeanour as Michael C. Hall plods along doing nothing more than following the director’s instructions.
There are one or two warm moments, particularly at the end, but it is mostly a lot of meaningless meandering that alls leads to an inevitable and obvious conclusion.