Drinking Buddies was one of the more charming, surprising comedies of 2013. Now director Joe Swanberg, ever prolific, is back with Happy Christmas, which looks like an incisive exploration of family dynamics and young love. The premise has irresponsible 20-something Jenny (Anna Kendrick) move in with brother Jeff (Swanberg), his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), and their baby son. Lena Dunham rounds out the cast as Jenny's friend Carson.
But as with most films in the mumblecore genre, it's futile to attempt a pat plot summary: these films are digressive and meandering, and much of their quality is rooted in the specific improvisation and discovery that occurs during filming. We'll see if Happy Christmas hits the right notes come June 26, when it arrives on demand. It comes to theaters July 25.*
* Correction, May 21: This post originally said that Happy Christmas hit theaters June 26.
TODAY IN SLATE
Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola
Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
The U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria Will Probably Benefit America’s Other Enemies
It’s Not Easy for Me, but I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
In Defense of HR
Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.