Susan Sarandon gets a fun vehicle she deserves with this fine directorial effort from Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friendat the End of the World), who also wrote the clever and sweet screenplay.
Sarandon plays Marnie, a New Jersey widow who has moved to L.A. to be near her daughter, Lorie (Rose Byrne), a screenwriter dealing with the breakup of her latest relationship. Marnie has a bunch of money and a lot of time on her hands, so she calls her daughter constantly, brings her bagels, and basically drives her crazy. When Lorie heads back east to shoot a pilot, Marnie winds up befriending Lorie’s friends and making a few new ones, including Zipper (J.K. Simmons) and his chickens. Sarandon takes what could be a cliché character and makes her an endearing one, imbibing Marnie with a genuine warmness that makes her a welcomed “meddler” rather than a nuisance. Byrne disappears for a good chunk of the movie, but when she’s around, she and Sarandon have convincing mother-daughter chemistry. Simmons, normally the purveyor of brash, harsh and funny characters gets to show off his soft side, and Zipper is a real winner.
It’s a cute movie that isn’t too cute, and a must for Sarandon fans. Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch and Michael McKean have small but memorable roles among the strong supporting cast.