Picks and Pans Review: The Pallbearer
The first half of this frail comic tale about a recent college graduate (Friends' Schwimmer) dragging his heels at entering adulthood seems so reminiscent of The Graduate that you keep half expecting "Mrs. Robinson" to blare forth from the screen. It doesn't help that Schwimmer, playing a jobless fellow who lives at home in Brooklyn with his dotty mom (Kane), has the same nasal delivery and slightly dazed look as Dustin Hoffman did in that 1967 classic. Or that he beds an older woman (Hershey) while romancing another his own age (Paltrow).
In the movie's second half, however, as Schwimmer's character begins to grow emotionally, this debut feature effort by director and co-screenwriter Matt Reeves eventually wins you over with a sweetly generous comic sensibility all its own. Schwimmer, despite spending much of Pallbearer with his mouth open in a perpetually befuddled "duh," ably conveys his character's basic decency. As for his leading ladies, the delicate Hershey seems fundamentally miscast as a tacky Brooklyn widow, while Paltrow skillfully wrings every last drop of nuance from her underwritten role. (PG-13)