Ben (Thomas Middleditch) is a recent divorcée who’s still not over his ex-wife leaving him to be with another man. As such, he’s depressed, and attempts suicide… but is interrupted and saved by his friend Tabby (Diana Bang) and a delivery man. After seeing his psychologist (Johannah Newmarch), Ben heads to the pharmacy for his anti-depressants and runs into a beautiful blonde thief (Jess Weixler). Soon after, his dad has a heart attack and (believing he’s going to die) reveals to Ben that he almost had a sister: his parents adopted a girl they had to return a day later after learning Ben’s mom became pregnant with him.
Ben becomes obsessed with string theory and quantum entanglement, believing that he can find the one event or choice in his life that has sent him on his current path and fix it. He believes that his almost-sister may be the key to fixing his life. With Tabby’s help, Ben finds the name and address of girl and rushes off to find her… low and behold it’s the blonde thief, Hanna! He tells her everything and she agrees to be his sister. They start hanging out and getting to know one another and their new brother-sister relationship accidentally develops into a romantic one, despite Tabby’s distrust for the situation. That’s when things get weird…
Entanglement feels like most indie rom-dramedies in terms of both tone and story. It’s got a dark comedy feel that’s more dry and sarcastic, with just enough humor to realize they’re making light of situations and emotions without ever actually being funny. This gritty angst with “ironic” humor is the norm for this sort of movie, though perhaps it’s a little too dry. Other quirky indie dramas have made me laugh. This one? Not so much.
The relationship feels more angsty here, too, than other films in this genre. There wasn’t nearly as much chemistry between Ben and Hanna as we’ve seen in other dark indie rom-dramadies like Mozart & The Whale or Blue Valentine. Here, it felt a little forced to have it be a romance rather than a plutonic friendship. There was only the slightest flirting coming from Hanna, making their “big hookup” feel out of the blue.
Part of the problem with the lack of chemistry (and humor), though, may rest on the shoulders of Thomas Middleditch – aka the new Verizon guy. The guy has done other movies and TV shows, but let’s be honest… if you’re like me and have yet to see HBO’s Silicon Valley, he’s probably just the Verizon guy, plain and simple. I like him as the Verizon guy. He’s funny in those commercials. He’s not funny in this film, however, and comes across as just an awkward man-child trying to be a hipster. He’s nearly monotone for the entire film, making both his jokes and emotional moments fall flat. Realistic? Perhaps, given the medication he’s on in the film, but not very cinematic or interesting.
Of those involved, the best actress was Diana Bang. She was the most emotional, the funniest, the most polished overall performance. Jess Weixler did a fine enough job, but she played a rather generic “manic pixie dream girl” with not much needed in terms of emotion or character growth.
Entanglement isn’t a bad movie… it’s just sort of meh, with a dash of bland and a touch of odd for good measure. It’s a film for hipsters and wannabe film snobs who’ve yet to become snobby enough to fit in with the film school crowd. It does a good job of not telegraphing its “hook” (which I can’t reveal without giving away the ending). But watch the trailer and you’ll see Ben swimming with jellyfish and animated deer. That alone might give away what’s going on here (I mean, come on, cartoon deer in the real world in what’s otherwise a very realistic film about mental illness?).