A Little White Lie: Review
Shriver (Michael Shannon) has a few problems in his life. He wants to be a writer, but he constantly gets writer’s block and his drinking problem doesn’t help. He also happens to share the same name as a famous author who all but disappeared many years ago and despite being highly revered, nobody’s heard from him since.
Then one day Shriver gets a letter inviting him to a university to take part in a literary festival, hoping that his presence will increase interest in the event. Clearly realising that the letter is meant for his more famous namesake, Shriver sees an opportunity and thanks to some encouragement from a friend, he gets on a plane and heads to the university.
A Little White Lie (otherwise known as Shriver) is a comedy written and directed by Michael Maren, based on the novel of the same name by Chris Belden. However, although being based on a book there are certain things that an audience may expect from a comedy centred on a mistaken identity.
The movie does indeed play out this way and even when Shriver meets Simone (Kate Hudson) who’s come from the university to pick him up, the audience may pick up on an attraction between the two. Also, when Shriver comes to the university he’s met by T. Wasserman (Don Johnson), a self-styled bohemian writer/lecturer who takes him under his wing sparking an unlikely bromance.
However, although director Maren may have aspirations to bring his passion project to life, his inexperience shows. What could have been a light and funny comedy is leaden due to the pacing. Meaning certain story beats that could guide an audience down a path end up going nowhere and perhaps leaving the audience confused.
Shannon’s performance as the polite and introverted Shriver may tell the audience all they need to know. Because Shriver is just too boring to be a protagonist audiences will want to support, perhaps suggesting Shannon’s lost interest as well.
The many elements that go into A Little White Lie suggest a book which could have been adapted under a more confident writer/director. However, no matter how many famous faces are thrown at the screen, it doesn’t disguise how bored everybody feels.
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