The most alluring thing I like the most about independent films is their penchant for analyzing social taboos. Don't get me wrong, big budget films touch upon a lot of the same themes, but they don't quite have the same level of emotion as their independent counterparts. It could just be my personal bias, but I always feel that indies are more open and "closer" to the subject matter, willing and able to show darker sides that big budget movies aren't comfortable depicting.
While Nobody Walks may not be entirely original with its plot, the performances of its cast helps keep the film above mediocrity... barely.
Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is an aspiring young filmmaker that moves to Los Angeles to finish her short film on insects. Her mentor's old friend, Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) employs her sound engineer husband, Peter (John Krasinski), to help Martine with her short film. However, Martine's arrival causes a whirlwind of various affairs that affects the relationships surrounding the family.
The setup of a young artist entering a close family and causing havoc isn't anything new. To be frank, the initial setup sounds like the setup of a porno. Ironically enough, Russo-Young and co-writer Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) probably had pornos on their minds subconsciously, as Martine's appearance in the family's lives jumpstarts a cavalcade of sex and affairs. Thusly, Nobody Walks finds its name as nobody is left wading through their old lives. Pretty catchy, huh?
What helps the otherwise color-by-numbers plot is the cast's acting. As regular Flixist readers will know, I'm a huge Olivia Thirlby fan, and while Nobody Walks won't get her any more acclaim that she already has, it's good to see her in a lead role again. Her co-star, The Office's John Krasinski, is cast as the unfortunate father/husband figure that can't help but get caught up in Martine's sexual tornado. It's great to see Krasinski cast against his type (carefree, all-American, super nice guy) to play a man fueled by sexual desire. DeWitt, too, plays up to snuff for those familiar with her work.
The one surprise I had was with Justin Kirk (Weeds), who plays as a screenwriter/psychiatric patient to DeWitt's character. I've never watched Weeds, so I wasn't familiar with Kirk, and while the snobby Hollywood character is a tried cliche, I couldn't help but enjoy Kirk's confidence in playing the character.
Nobody Walks isn't necessarily bad, it's just not all that great, either. My biggest problem with the film is how little it does differently from other likeminded films. It's one thing to use a tried-and-true cliche, but it's another to actually differentiate from the formula. If you're into independent romantic dramas, then Nobody Walks is right down your alley. If you like your films with a little more thematic meat, then look elsewhere. Sorry, Olivia.