When Will Henry (Jemaine Clement) catches his long-time girlfriend Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) with another man at their twin’s fifth birthday party, it’s clear that People Places Things isn’t the goofy, upbeat brand of romantic comedy we’ve come to expect. But despite the film’s dealings in the uncomfortable and morose, the delivery is optimistically quirky, cute and heartfelt.
One year following that awkward confrontation in the bedroom, Will finds himself single in New York, and not exactly loving it. He attempts to distract himself with parenting his lively twin daughters, and guiding a classroom full of sarcastic students. As a graphic novelist, he pours his disappointment into his art, filling page after page with recounts of his romantic failures. Still carrying a torch for his selfish and perpetually confused ex, Will wears his heartbreak with facetious pride.
People Places Things plays out like a cautionary tale about the perils of living in the past. The ongoing comics act as narrative, allowing the audience to peek into the artist’s former life, or at least his version of things. These simple, straightforward pieces provide tangible documentation of Will’s innermost thoughts, and his inability to cope with past mistakes.
People Places Things, while easy to digest, is still a smart and well executed film. The plot never demands deep contemplation or delivers profound meaning. Instead, this decidedly lightweight comedy earns merit from its candid, unpretentious, and thoroughly relatable nature.