Directed by: Nikole Beckwith
Premise: A single man (Ed Helms) hires a surrogate (Patti Harrison) to produce a child. The two of them socialize, blurring the boundaries of their relationship.
What Works: The premise of Together Together could quite easily be the basis of a formulaic romantic comedy; the conceit is reminiscent of the 2010 Jennifer Lopez comedy The Back-Up Plan. Together Together sets its sights higher than that. The movie is, at its core, a romance but it is a platonic romance between two strangers bonded by a shared project. Ed Helms plays a middle aged single man who wants to start a family and this is familiar territory for Helms. He’s generally played awkwardly earnest nice guys and Together Together puts Helms in a similar kind of role while allowing for some depth and nuance. Helms is paired with Patti Harrison as a woman who has agreed to be his surrogate; she will carry and give birth to this man’s child but surrender any legal rights to the baby. It’s an unusual scenario and the filmmakers and the actors play up the peculiarities. The banter between Helms and Harrison is agreeable and their friendship mostly grows organically. The movie explores the complexities of the relationships between men and women and the ways human beings bond with one another. It’s a rich movie with a lot of implications but for all of its serious ideas Together Together is also very funny. The comedy is humanizing and helps to make the characters likable and empathetic. Together Together also features a lot of colorful and distinctive side characters such as a barista played by Evan Jonigkeit and a medical technician played by Sufe Bradshaw. These actors contribute some laughs and punch up what would be otherwise stock romantic comedy characters.
What Doesn’t: Helms and Harrison’s characters violate virtually any sense of boundaries and they do this early and often. It comes across a little incredulous that they would violate what seem like obvious best practices for surrogacy. The chemistry between the protagonists is enough to get the movie past this credibility flaw; the two of them are likable friends and their disregard of boundaries is mostly excusable because the audience will want to see their friendship work. Together Together ends abruptly. The film reaches a climax but it leaves some of the lingering questions unresolved. That’s part of the point; human relationships don’t usually have neat and conclusive endings and neither does this film. But the end of the picture is so abrupt that it doesn’t give the viewer a chance to transition out of the movie.
Bottom Line: Together Together is a thoughtful movie that’s quite funny while also confronting meaningful topics. The unbelievable elements are mostly softened by the likable performances of Ed Helms and Patti Harrison as well as the overall agreeableness of the movie.
Episode: #849 (May 2, 2021)